Hornbill Unleashed

May 24, 2011

Perak crisis: The tears and the laughter

Selena TayPerak crisis: The tears and the laughter

It has been more than 2 years since the Perak power-grab orchestrated by BN enabled them to take control of the Silver State on 5th February 2009.

In a Machiavellian and well-executed move planned during the 2009 Chinese Lunar New Year period, 3 state assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat declared themselves to be BN-friendly and that was the coup-de-grace that toppled Perak.

The court battles between the PAS Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin and the BN-installed Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir finally ended on 9th February 2010 with the Federal Court’s 5-0 decision in favour of Zambry as the legal and valid Menteri Besar.

Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Arifin Zakaria, who read out the decision said the Bench found that the Court of Appeal was justified in reversing the High Court decision which had earlier declared Nizar as the rightful Perak Menteri Besar.

That the decision was expected was not surprising but what was surprising was the 5-0 verdict as many had expected it to be a close verdict of 3-2.  Nizar had labelled the verdict as the death of democracy.

Perak’s own Tree of Democracy

Be that as it may, a recap of the state assembly sittings post-5th February 2009 revealed that after the coup, there has been little administrative matters discussed but a lot of high-profile bullying of the Pakatan assemblymen so as to make it difficult for them to fulfill their duties.

One of the most famous events that should be remembered by all those who fight for democracy is the Democracy Tree assembly held on 3rd March, 2009. This was where the Pakatan assemblymen were forced to hold the Dewan sitting – under a huge raintree near the Perak DAP HQ – after they were locked out of the State Secretariat Building where the Dewan sittings traditionally take place.

The road leading to the State Secretariat Building had been barricaded by hundreds of FRU and police personnel on 3rd March in a BN show of force against the Pakatan.

This solemn yet moving assembly was really a people’s assembly as it was held alfresco with members of the public standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pakatan assemblymen as the Speaker V Sivakumar called the meeting to order.

Many of those present were moved to tears at this event which was later made into a DVD entitled ‘The Democracy Tree DVD’.

A plaque was lated mounted up at the assembly spot to commemorate the event, but it was vandalised. Even so, the broken fragments were later auctioned off for the purpose of fund-raising and Pakatan managed to collect a tidy sum of about RM40,000.

Black Thursday and the Chair affair

Another memorable event was the ‘Black Thursday Incident’, otherwise known as ‘The Chair Incident’ which occurred on 7th May 2009.

Black was the colour worn by those in solidarity with the Pakatan, symbolising mourning for a democracy that had died.  Scores of people were arrested by the police for wearing black.  Among these were Wong Chin Huat (a university lecturer and social activist of Bersih), Pakatan MPs and state assemblymen from outside Perak as well as members of the public.

This incident was also known as the ‘The Chair Incident’ with the Chair in question being the Speaker’s Chair.  While there was chaos outside the State Secretariat Building due to the mass arrests of protestors in black, inside the Dewan there was pandemonium as well.

Dewan Speaker, Sivakumar the DAP assemblyman for Tronoh together with his chair were forcefully bundled out of the Dewan by BN security personnel and locked up in the store room for about an hour while BN ‘installed’ Ganesan as Speaker in an investiture ceremony and garbing him in the Speaker’s robe.

All hell broke loose as the Pakatan protested strongly against what was going on although the situation was very intimidating with hundreds of policemen inside and outside the Dewan.

It was absolute shambles on 7th May 2009, the Chair day!  A black event indeed.

Then there was the Tunnel ambush

There was also a nasty incident on 28th October 2009 called ‘The Ambush In The Tunnel’.  In this incident, the Pakatan assemblymen were not allowed to enter the Dewan using the main door but were instead instructed to enter the Dewan via the tunnel from the car park.

While walking in the tunnel passageway towards the Dewan, the Pakatan assemblymen were beaten up and those who suffered the worst were V Sivakumar who was strangled and punched in the stomach, while DAP assemblyman for Pantai Remis Nga Kor Ming had his private parts grabbed during the melee.  Nga subsequently made a police report in regards to that.

After the undemocratic and illegal power-grab by BN in February 2009, all the state assembly sittings were disorderly as the Pakatan side struggled to get themselves heard due to their microphones being switched off and not being given time to speak.

These one-sided proceedings were a farce as BN assemblymen took the opportunity to bulldoze through the Supply Bill, enabling them to increase the budget allocation for the administration of the state.

During Nizar’s 11-month tenure, he managed to keep the books in the black but now there is red-hot speculation the BN state government has already incurred a budget deficit.  Menteri Besar Zambry has however denied this, insisting that the state had plenty of reserves.

Zambry now claims the state’s reserves are worth more than RM800 million based on book value of investment stocks and fixed deposits. Pakatan has called him a liar and insists that Perak now has a record budget deficit of almost RM104 million.

‘Shoe city’ and other ominous signs – fatalities and snakes too

Under BN, apart from financial fiascos, there were other not-so-common mishaps – some which of which resulted in lives being lost.

Among these were an old building, which crumbled and fell on 2 Malay youths and killing them. Separately, 3 Indian female pupils lost their lives doing a night crossing on the Kuala Dipang bridge during a school excursion, while 3 Chinese youths drowned while swimming in the waterfalls.  All these catastrophes happened in the latter part of 2009.

However, the greatest loss of lives occurred in the Simpang Pulai bus crash last year where 28 people – mostly tourists from Thailand – died in one of Malaysia’s most horrific road accidents in history.

In regards to mismanagement, the proposal to turn Perak into a ‘shoe city’ for tourism purposes in December last year seems to have fizzled out from the radar.

And the most recent fiasco was in early May 2011, where Zambry blamed the state’s investment arm – the Perak State Development Corporation – for failing to brief him on the now-cancelled Memorandum Of Understanding with a Hong Kong firm for the purpose of mining rare earth in Bukit Merah.

But Zambry, being the said chairman of the state corporation, should have known what was going on and this indicates that he did not attend the board meetings even though this was an important agency under his supervision.

To his critics, the whole incident simply shows that Zambry is sleeping on the job.

But in the tradition of best is last, the most recent and most comical fiasco involved a snake.

A village representative from Kampung DBI named S Subramaniam presented Zambry with a python as a means of attracting attention to their woes and also to seek assistance from the state authorities to get rid of the snake menace troubling the villagers and endangering their lives.

Sightings of snakes are common in the village and according to online news portal TV Selangor, a villager had died recently after being bitten by a snake.

The state authorities’ inaction despite many complaints was the cause of the villagers presenting Zambry with the python.  It does start to appear that Zambry needs to work much harder.

It is high time Perakians wake up and vote in an efficient government if they want their problems solved quickly and the state’s finances to remain healthy, or like Kampung DBI, the whole of Perak might get swamped with snakes and serpents too!

– Malaysia Chronicle



  1. Do not under estimate the power of free hand-outs as pratise by the government over the years. In the maddness for change in the last election, now we have learn how to pick our candidate wisely only those we could serve the people, country and King but not themselves to the brink with free hand-out in the form of rinngits – dire consequences if this happen again.

    Comment by Ghost — May 25, 2011 @ 10:15 PM | Reply

  2. Perak royalty is related to PM….surely lah Perak Sultan help his cousin or whatever…

    Dunno how can these ex pirates can becoem Sultan!

    Comment by Very Angry Sarawakian — May 25, 2011 @ 2:04 AM | Reply

  3. True, there were tears and laughter, and Perakians were jolted into disbelief – it was like their beloved MB – PAS’s Nizar vs MIC, and again their favourite Speaker DAP’s Sivakumar vs MIC all the way!
    Meanwhile the despicable ruthless mastermind from UMNO after meeting his “perak guardians” took to new lows – yeah lempar batu, sembunyi tangan devoid of selfworth, dignity and integrity!

    Comment by Jong — May 24, 2011 @ 9:34 PM | Reply

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