Updated 7.51pm, 8 May 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, 8 May 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he was utterly disappointed at the ruckus at the Perak state assembly sitting yesterday due to the action of the opposition assemblypersons who did not respect the law.
“I regret that there were chaos and tension at the Perak assembly sitting which should not have occurred because we should show to the world that the democracy practiced in Malaysia is based on ethics and principles according to the regulations and laws, whether the law of the country or House procedures.
“Even if we don’t like certain things, we cannot emphasise our stand to the extent of denying the rights of the others. Everyone has his or her own right, the government has rights; the opposition has rights.
“Our objective in creating the regulations and laws was to ensure that the democratic system in Malaysia runs smoothly and in an orderly manner,” the Prime Minister said.
He said if there was no respect for the law and regulations then “a situation will arise where we will have the law of the jungle in our country”.
“This will certainly lead to a most tragic development which will be most shameful, and tarnish Malaysia’s image as a nation that knows how to practice a democracy that is mature.”
He said this when launching the exhibition of the 10-year achievements of the Malaysian Islamic Arts Museum, here today. The launch was also attended by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
Asked whether the action by the three state assemblypersons who left the opposition coalition to become Independents was in accordance with the law, he said: “What is not constitutional about it.”
He said that changing parties was normal in a parliamentary democracy and it had been done by Winston Churchill (a former British prime minister), and the latest in the United States by a Republican senator who became a Democrat.
“It is not wrong and not unconstitutional, and not invalid or illegal. Don’t forget there was an attempt to form a government on 16 Sept last year using the same principle and method, by trying to persuade 30 of our Members of Parliament to cross over.
“Isn’t that an act that can cause dispute? So, if we consider that such a thing can be done, why not the three assembly[persons] who support the Barisan Nasional,” Najib said.
Asked on the refusal of former Perak speaker V Sivakumar to vacate the speaker’s chair after being removed from the post yesterday, he said Sivakumar should have vacated the chair as he was no longer the speaker.
To another question, Najib said the dissolution of the Perak state assembly could only be made at the discretion of the Sultan of Perak.
The need to call for an election was determined by the Sultan who had the absolute power to decide.
“We cannot hold the election as we like. If the Tuanku says there is no need to dissolve (the State Assembly) because the existing government can administer the state, then there is no need for an election.
“Don’t forget that the PAS government in Kelantan previously could survive with a majority of merely one seat. We have three seats and they enable us to administer Perak,” said Najib.
The Prime Minister also said the arrest of scores of people in the run-up to the state assembly sitting yesterday, was police action and the government had nothing to do with it.
“The police have the responsibility to maintain law and order and I cannot micro-manage the police. The police must decide on their own what action to take and I am sure the police know what action to take,” he added. — Bernama