(Anyone can say anything in this country but it leaves a bad taste when that person is holding an important office. Image source: http://movies.indiainfo.com)
First the statement from the civil servant:-
Perak CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah warned members of the public not to gather outside the State Secretariat building on Tuesday.
He said that according to the State Assembly Secretary, the emergency meeting of the Assembly called by Sivakumar is invalid because it had not received the consent of the Perak Ruler.
What give this civil servant the right to override what the Speaker of the Assembly (of elected representatives) have decided and then decide that the State Secretary is higher ranking than the Speaker? Has the State Secretary done things right in the first place?
The Speaker of the State Assembly has this to say on the attempts by the State Secretary to usurp powers:-
Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar insists that the state assembly secretary does not have the power to interpret the Standing Orders.
He cited Standing Order 89 which states that subject to a substantive motion moved for that purpose, the Speaker’s interpretation of the Standing Orders is final.
A fiery Sivakumar said the secretary’s duty is to follow his instructions as provided under the rules.
What happens if the Speaker is right and the State Secretary was wrong? Wouldn’t the CPO had now interfered with a valid democratic process? If the Speaker has indeed made the wrong decision, shouldn’t it be left to the members of the State Assembly to decide otherwise?
What we are going to get next? The State Assembly security guards locking away the building because they feel that the Speaker’s actions are invalid?
On the Sultan’s consent for the State Assembly to meet, this is what was reported in Malaysia Today:-
The secretary had tried to sabotage the sitting by saying it did not have the consent of the Perak Sultan as required by the Standing Orders and the state constitution.
However, Sivakumar’s lawyers have explained that because the last meeting of the Perak assembly held in November was adjourned sine die and not prorogued or dissolved, the Sultan’s consent was not required this time.
The emergency sitting is the fourth meeting of the first session of the 12th assembly so the Speaker has the power to call the meeting,” said Sivakumar’s legal counsel Augustine Anthony. “If it was prorogued, only the Sultan of Perak can summon the Assembly,” said his other counsel Chan Kok Keong.
“The consent was granted before and it is still in force,” explained Nga.
Increasingly the argument that has been put forward by the BN fellows is that the Pakatan Rakyat members (especially the State Assembly Speaker) has gone against the decision of the Sultan but what about their unconstitutional act of getting in power through the back door? Isn’t this going against the decision of the voters which the decision of the Ruler need to be in tune as well?
If BN argues that the independent representatives are still valid representatives of the people, then the right decision would have been to get an affirmation from the people. Tell the Pakatan that despite the “frogs” jumped ship, the people still want these “frogs” to continue to represent them. This has not been done, so it is not right to continue to shout that the “frogs” still have the voters’ confidence.
It is getting out of hand when every Tom, Dick and Harry starts to issue statement which is likely to complicate the running of the State Government and overriding of legal rights and powers of the State Assembly Speaker. Instead of making comical, unconstitutional, ultra vires statements, these civil servant should leave themselves from politics and do more important things.
Further, the civil servants’ actions complicates matter even worse and it is setting a bad precedent – today a State Assembly, tomorrow the Parliament?