Hornbill Unleashed

May 24, 2009

What next in Perak … on a lazy Malaysian Sunday?

By Sim Kwang Yang

PALACE-OF-INJUSTICEThe Appellate Court decision yesterday to restore BN’s Zambry as the Perak Mentri Besar should not have surprised too many informed Malaysians.

We have lived through the constitutional crisis in 1988, when judicial independence was stripped through constitutional amendments rammed through the Parliament by the BN two-third brute majority.  We have lived through the Lingam Tape scandal before the 2008 general election.  We have seen half-past-six attempt on judicial reform after the 2008 political tsunami.  It is judicial business as usual, Malaysia style.

Even if Nizar gets his written judgement, and he appeals to the Federal Court against the decision of the Appellate Court, what do you think the final decision of the Apex court will be?  You want to bet, even for a cup of coffee?

NizarThe immediate implication of the Appellate Court is quite appalling.  It means that the Malay Rulers can now dismiss his Menteri Besar without a vote of no-confidence in the Perak State Assembly.  All the Malay Rulers and the Governors of the states can do that.  The Agong can now dismiss his Prime Minister in like fashion.

The decision gives the constitutional monarchs executive powers which are not given to them in the nation’s constitution!  It changes the nature of Malaysia as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy!  In one fell swoop, the supremacy and the sovereignty of the people as symbolised by the institution of the elected state assembly has been sabotaged!

At least, I discuss the merits and demerits of the judgment passed by the justices sitting on the Appellate Court in that landmark decision yesterday.  I have not embarked on an attack on their persons.  I remember vaguely that to attack the person of the judge whose decision you do not like is tantamount to the crime of contempt of court.  You can go to jail for it.

But when the decision of the Appellate Court was out on net new portals yesterday, when Malaysiakini was overloaded by a massive digital traffic jam, there was a spontaneous tsunami of outrage among Netizens in Malaysia.  There was a sea of comments vilifying the judges sitting on the Appellate Court.

If the justices want to name these people for contempt of court, there will be insufficient jails in Malaysia to hold them all.

In a British traditional common law system, judges hold dear to the principle that the accused should not be unfairly judged by the court of public opinion.  Is that why when a case is being heard, the media should not comment on the merits and the demerits of the case, for fear of influencing the judge?  The case is said to be sub judice, or some Latin mumbo-jumbo like that.  You lawyers out there can enlighten me.

In the court ruling yesterday, is the whole judiciary in Malaysia now trialled and judged by the court of public opinion in Malaysia?

If so, that would be a pity.  It would show that – in public perception at least — the prestige, integrity, and independence of the judges yesterday and the entire judiciary have been greatly compromised.  I am now dying to hear what former Justice Datuk NH Chan has to say about this turn of event.

Meanwhile, in an article entitled “Keputusan makamah Rayuan diatur?”  (Appellate Court Decision Pre-arranged?) posted by Faqir Puteh on Husam Musa’s blog and linked by RPK’s Malaysia-today, the author has this to say (my English translation):

“My posting three days ago “predicted” that the Appellate Court would favour Zambry and that “prediction” has come true to-day.

“That was not a “prediction” but a piece of information.  My follow-up information is that the Perak State Assembly will be dissolved soon, after the BN meeting once more on Monday or Tuesday,”

This chap Husam Musa is a PAS heavy weight, so we can assume that he would have all kinds of access to sensitive information gushing through the underbelly of party politics.  Whether his information is correct or not, we will know within days.

But speculation has been rife that the BN might indeed decide to have a snap state general election in Perak.  They might lose, and return Pakatan Rakyat to power with a bigger majority, as Dr. M had predicted.

But the worse evil is for the crisis to drag on, while the continuing court battle keeps national attention on the on-going crisis grinding Perak to a halt, giving PR the ammunition in their war on this BN publicity disaster.

Frankly, I do not see how the BN can drag on this farce without losing national support in the next general election.  Husam Musa’s information is also collaborated by RPK’s personal prediction in his recent posting in Malaysia Today entitled Najib’s latest strategy: perception war:-

Zambry‘The only viable option open to Najib is to dissolve the Perak state assembly and hold new state elections. But that must not be on the opposition’s terms. That must be on UMNO’s terms. Zambry has to be declared the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak (by the Appellate Court – editor) and then he shall seek permission from the Sultan for the dissolution of the state assembly. They can’t afford for Nizar to be the one who requests the dissolution of the state assembly. That would hurt Najib’s and UMNO’s image real bad.”

If this is what is going to happen, and a state general election is finally held, that would be fine.  Let the best party and the best man win, fair and square.  That would be what most Malaysians want to see anyway.

Meanwhile, the ruling by the Appellate Court yesterday has opened up unprecedented and dangerous interpretation of the constitution regarding the exercise of royal power of our monarchs.  That may be a harder problem to fix.

SKY can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com




  1. […] liked “Sayang Sarawak… sungainya sempit” by Baharuddin Mokhsen, “What next in Perak…on a lazy Malaysian Sunday?” by SKY, “Painting Penan Reality” by John Riwang and “Big Bullies in Sarawak” were all […]

    Pingback by What Difference Can a Year Make? « Hornbill Unleashed — January 4, 2010 @ 12:03 AM | Reply

  2. I wonder if the Sultan of Perak deliberately lead Najib into his trap. With this Court of Appeal decision as precedent, the Agong can now appoint Tengku Razaleigh as PM and ask Najib to resign !!

    Comment by rakyat — May 25, 2009 @ 7:22 AM | Reply

  3. The Federal Court will affirm the Appeal Court decision. Then, it becomes law that the Sultan can remove MB and King can remove PM. This is their plan and they will replay it again should PR come into power in the next GE.

    Comment by cbs — May 24, 2009 @ 11:08 PM | Reply

  4. I don’t think that BN will agree to a state by election knowing that they will lose miserably. Once power is in the hands it’s very difficult to let go. We might have to wait another 3 years to “punish” BN. I’m not pessimistic here. Just being realistic.

    Comment by queequeg — May 24, 2009 @ 10:06 PM | Reply

  5. A retired judge once said judges’ cars have black tinted windows not to keep out the heat but to hide their shame. How appropriate in this case.

    Comment by Kein — May 24, 2009 @ 7:29 PM | Reply

  6. wanna give these 3 judges some credit. at least, they are going to give the grounds of their judgement in 7 days time. may be not as efficient as the High Court judge, but at least written grounds will be given. lets await.

    oh, its better than those judges who aint gonna give a damn about request for written judgement. and they are from the apex court. talking about walking the talk and setting an example. and still wanna bet on the outcome on the appeal by Nizar? or for the matter on the outcome of Siva’s suit against the illegitimate Speaker?

    Looks like UNMO-land is no different from Mugabe-land, no?

    Comment by aca — May 24, 2009 @ 6:30 PM | Reply

  7. Bearing in mind that UMNO will not contest the Penanti by-election do you seriously think they will hold fresh elections in Perak knowing full well the anger of Perakians? Is the Perak debacle linked in any way to the recent unwarranted raid on DAP headquarters? I see this as the authorities’ way of goading DAP supporters (mainly Chinese) to react negatively so that they can clamp down on this party. I’m afraid I do not have any faith at all in the current government and I’m ashamed that parties like Gerakan and MCA are still its partners. As for the judiciary, its antics are something even the writers of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python would be proud of!

    Comment by Ling — May 24, 2009 @ 5:14 PM | Reply

  8. that shows the low life of UMNO to the extent it is willing to dump the constitution into the drain just to preserve its stolen goods.

    and i dont have any positive to say about the judiciary. Reverred NH Chan called those judges who renegade on their duties to uphold the consitution as RENEGED Judges. I just wonder where’s their conviction on professionalism.

    As postulated by NH Chan, even the very fact he is against death sentencing, he has no choice but to sadly imposed it coz it is duty as a judge to uphold the laws and put aside his personal beliefs. will the present crop of judges put aside their clear political leanings? the answer is clear as daylight. there’s a positive from the this Perak saga in that the judiciary needs a massive spring cleaning before the nation can heal and move in unison.

    Comment by aca — May 24, 2009 @ 5:11 PM | Reply

  9. I do not hold the view that Umno will call for dissolution and go for snap elections in Perak. This is so against their grain.

    Umno will hold on to Perak like a monkey whose hand is inside a hole in a coconut which it cannot withdraw while it is grabbing a fistful of food inside. You can approach and beat or capture the monkey but it will never think of letting go of the food to escape.

    Similarly, Umno will suffer great damage from Perak but it will never think of letting go of the state.

    In the first place, Umno’s basic attitude is that “might makes right”. Secondly, their thinking is infantile in that direct, tangible rewards are more important than future intangible ones.

    Frankly, I don’t know where these rumours of Umno’s so-called softening stance come from. I do not need any sources from Umno to know that it is not going to happen.

    Look at post-court statements by Umno leaders including Najib. Do they indicate Umno is willing to let let go of Perak? In MI today. Najib is not ruling out an emergency session to legitimize his power grab.

    If indeed, Umno intends to hold fresh elections in Perak, it would have been better to let the court decide in favour of Nizar (as it rightly should) without interference and use the decision as a face saving excuse to dissolve the Assembly. As a bonus, they can trumpet to the world how “fair and independent” the judiciary is.

    But now that the court has decided in favour of Zambry, will the Umno warlords let Najib prise Perak out of their greedy paws?

    No need to wait for next week, Sky. It’s not going to happen.

    Comment by Kenny Gan — May 24, 2009 @ 3:20 PM | Reply

    • If UMNO go for a dissolution, then they are smart. If not, that is fine. Let the crisis fester on. I have no false hope.

      Comment by sky — May 24, 2009 @ 4:05 PM | Reply

    • Who are you, Kenny Gan? I’ve read all your letters to Malaysiakini and the numerous comments you leave in various blogs – and you have ALWAYS come across as totally clear-sighted and impressively articulate. If you were running for public office I’d gladly vote for you. But I’d be happy just to bump into you someday and shake your hand! 🙂

      BTW, have you read the Najib-Shafee SMS exchanges reposted by RPK in MT early this morning? I’ve dedicated a blogpost to these fascinating messages intercepted by Maxis. I wonder how RPK got hold of these wonderfully incriminating transcripts!

      Comment by Antares — May 24, 2009 @ 4:45 PM | Reply

    • look at the other side of coin. now the king can ‘sack’ the pm. could it be a delibrate far sighted attempt of the lawless sly pm to open up this deadknot so that after GE13, wherein PR will get it SURE-WIN then, this useless deadknot may be the ‘killer’ to PR-premiership? I really wont put it pass them. Moreover a couple of months before ascending to premiership Najib once praised and recommended SunTse art of war book for its good strategies and advised that this book should be read and effectively used in the readers’ business life. Aint politiks is his business ;-)?

      Comment by YuLeng — May 24, 2009 @ 5:07 PM | Reply

  10. This BN regime will never care about the consequences of their actions just to cling onto power. They are destroying the country.

    I am very sure one day the rulers will use this verdict to show their supremacy and the country will go to the drain.

    Comment by Joker — May 24, 2009 @ 2:46 PM | Reply

  11. The fact that the result is a forgone conclusion goes to show how stinking low and and one-sided the judiciary has become. These judges moral are no better than the criminals they sentenced and sent to jail by the these judges themselves. When the justice system fail, the country itself and the people who run it are no better than brutal regimes like North Korea, Burma or Zimbabwe. Face the fact that we have descended to a 3rd world country. I believe the worst is yet to come.

    Comment by imwatchinu — May 24, 2009 @ 11:48 AM | Reply

  12. I will bet my bottom ringgit that the decision of the court of appeal will be upheld by the federal court. Bet? No betting ring will open its counter to bet on the outcome of the federal court. But, I think the rings are willing to accept bet on who is writing the federal court decision (and for that matter, the court of appeal decision) now.

    PR should stop playing to the BN game. An effort in futility. Appeal you may, but do something. Hunger strike in Ipoh starting on Tuesday, lets make it a nationwide event.

    Comment by James K — May 24, 2009 @ 10:56 AM | Reply

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