The Case for Tommy Thomas as the next AG


Note 1: Got this from OutSyedtheBox and it makes alot of sense
Note 2: It is reproduced verbatim (I only edited the layout for clarity) – the authentication is not confirmed

(After the major screw-up and yet to accept the reality of things, the guy on the left does not have enough trust and credibility to continue to be the Attorney General. The country needs a change – a drastic change that it. Image source: Free Malaysia Today)

DOES THE AG NEED TO BE A MALAY OR A MUSLIM? DOES HE HAVE TO ADVISE ON SYARIAH LAW?
By GK Ganesan Kasinathan, Advocate and Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur
03 June 2018

The nation is trundling towards a calamitous constitutional misunderstanding. Someone has to do something about it and set matters straight. Let us identify what is happening. A debate has begun to rage. It concerns the identity of the person who should be the next Attorney General.

It is about constitutional provisions regarding what characteristics the Attorney General should have—and whether the current nominee, Mr. Tommy Thomas has them.

Two conflicting ideas

At the heart of the debate are two conflicting statements:-

  • The first is the altruistic proposition that certain quarters ‘have no objection at all to a non-Malay being nominated as AG.’
  • The second is an opposite argument. It is that the AG should be ‘in a position to advise the palace on Syariah matters.’
  • And the third proposition, being a conclusionary one, is the argument ‘… that therefore a judge, or a retired judge of the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court ought to be appointed as AG.’ These arguments are deeply flawed.

Here are the reasons..

These arguments have no constitutional basis at all. In fact, the Federal Constitution says the opposite. Why is that? The rakyat should be allowed to interpret the Constitution. The rakyat should take part in this debate. They should look at the Constitution and inform themselves of the important aspects of this confusion. They should be taught to interpret the Constitution. It is their right. Lawyers should not be the only ones telling people what the law is.

So let us look at the Constitution.

The starting point is Article 145.

Answer to the claim AG ‘must advise on Syariah law.’ The first and most important opposition to the Administration — and Mahathir — comes from the argument that the ‘AG must be able to advise the King on Syariah matters’. This demand contradicts Constitutional provisions. This is because the Constitution exempts the AG from such a requirement. You will understand this readily, because the relevant part of Article 145(2), states:

– ‘145(2): It shall be the duty of the [AG] to advise the [King] or the Cabinet or any Minister upon… legal matters, and to perform… duties of a legal character,… and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other written law.

So what it says here is that the AG must discharge the duties that the Constitution asks him to. What power does the Constitution give him? That is explained by Art 145(3). It states:

– ‘145(3): The [AG] shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.’ Clause 3 prohibits the AG from dealing with proceedings before Syariah Courts and Military Courts.

As far as Syariah matters are concerned the AG has no role. No one would disagree that the King must have the very best Syariah advisor—an expert. Were previous AGs experts on Syariah Law? Was Gani Patail an expert on Syariah law? Was Apandi? How come no one objected then?

So how can the AG be now compelled to perform a duty — or exercise a power — that the Constitution has taken away from him? Why is the AG now being asked to advise on something that the Constitution tells him is none of his business? The person to advise the King on Syariah law cannot be a retired judge.

The fifth argument is that the nominee for the AG ‘must be either an existing or a retired Federal Court judge or a Court of Appeal judge; for, that way he can render legal advise on Syariah matters’. This argument is a non-starter. Again there is a clear instruction from the Constitution on this.

Apart from informing the AG what matters over which the AG has powers to act on, the Constitution goes one step further.

Secular courts are non-Syariah courts: i.e. the Magistrate Courts, Sessions Courts, High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Courts: [Article 121 defines the secular courts].

The Constitution expressly removes from all secular courts any power that is only a Syariah Court can exercise.

Clause (1A) says:- ‘The courts referred to in Clause (1) [read, ‘secular courts’] shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.’

The Syariah judicial system works under a different set of laws. They have their own courts, their own judges, and their own lawyers. They are independent of the Judiciary.

Therefore if Syariah law advice is needed, their Highnesses have ample Syariah resources available at their disposal. If so, how can candidates be chosen from the retired or existing list of the secular Federal Court or the Court of Appeal judges? From them have been removed the power to deal with Syariah matters. It stands to reason that they, no matter what race or religion they profess, would have had no formal legal training on Syariah law at all.

So why ask to choose from a group who possess no Syariah knowledge at all? So the argument that the AG ‘must be able to advise on Syariah matters’ argument is a red fish! It is simply not true.

What qualities must a candidate for an AG have?

The next question to ask oneself is, who can be appointed as the AG? Article 145(1) answers the question in this way:

– ‘145(1): The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney General for the Federation.’

Note the phrase, ‘a person qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court’. Who is that?

That is explained in Article 123. It prescribes that a nominee for an AG must be (a) a citizen and (b) for the last 10 years before his appointment he shall have been ‘an advocate’; or ‘a member of the Judicial and Legal service’ (this differs from judges in the Courts – do not confuse them as one), or a mixture of both. It does not mean he must be a Federal Court or Court of Appeal Judge. He must only be one who is ‘qualified to be’ one.

From which pool would you choose your AG, given the choice?

As a matter of choice where would you choose the AG to come from? Let us examine the pool of resources available to the Prime Minister. Suppose there are about 1,800 lawyers in the AG’s Chambers [AGC]: that is about right. Suppose we assume that at least 500 AGC lawyers in AGC have crossed the ‘10 year practice’ mark (the numbers could be far lower]. Then at least 500 persons qualify to be the AG.

Now, the Malaysian Bar has ten times more lawyers than the AGC. It had, at the latest count, over 18,000 members. Of that number [I extrapolate] there are over 9,000 lawyers who qualify under this Art 123 — they have crossed the ‘10 years of continued practice’ requirement. They are all citizens.

Go now to the judiciary as a source. If you add the total number of judges in the Federal Court and the Court of Appeal that does not cross 45. A great proportion of those judges are from the AG’s Chambers: some say as high as 90%. As a matter of choice, where would you choose the AG from? From the largest pool of 9,00 members, or a lesser pool of 500 lawyers from AG’s chambers, or from a smaller pool of 45 judges from the Judiciary— the latter of which is already under attack?

Equality of all candidates not matter of race

The sixth point is, the Constitution, which upholds equality as its central core (read Article 8 of the Constitution), does not prevent a non-Malay from being appointed an AG. If our forefathers thought it necessary, they would have inserted that proscription into the Constitution. Had they done it, that would have been against all known conventions of human rights. They have not.

Our forebears were reasonable people. They saw this issue and catered for it. The framers of the Constitution were men of great foresight. So why manipulate that intent by specious arguments of non-existent ‘conventions,’ conventions which are against human rights?

So there is no racial restriction in the Constitution. So that argument too goes out of the window.

The King ‘shall appoint’ Clause (1) of Article 145 states that His Majesty the King ‘shall’ on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint as AG a person proposed by the Prime Minister. This is what it says:

– ‘145(1): The yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney General for the Federation.’

Note the word, ‘shall’. It is mandatory.

The binding nature of the Prime Minister’s proposal is buttressed by an explanatory clause in Art. 40(1A): It says:

– ‘In in the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to act in accordance with advice, on advice, or after considering advice, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall accept and act in accordance with such advice.’

The phrase ‘shall accept and act in accordance with such advice’ points to a mandatory requirement. There is a reason for this. The functioning of a valid government cannot be stultified by delay.

The Manifesto Point

The seventh argument is: ‘In appointing a non-Parliamentarian, Mahathir has departed from the Harapan manifesto that the AG shall be an MP.’

Many points answer this vacuous argument. The manifesto point is readily overcome. Second, I have said elsewhere, the AG ought to be an MP answerable to the people, through parliament. I have suggested that the Constitution ought to be changed to effect that. The Committee for Institutional Reform is engaged in just that.

Like the Council of Eminent Persons, they have had no rest. They are burning the candle at both ends. They are inundated with all manner of papers. They will suggest amendments—in good time. But until that change is done, the law, as it stands, must be complied with. There is no countervailing argument against that. There is, fortunately, a Half-Way House solution.

It is embedded into the Constitution. Art. 61 of the Constitution, which states, ‘(2) Either house of parliament may appoint as a member of any of its committees the [AG]… notwithstanding that he is not a member of that house.’

So, through this side-door, Parliament may, after it convenes, ask the AG to be appointed into its committees. The Committees may ask him to answer questions. In this way the current AG can be brought into Parliament’s deliberations.

So these concerns are easily alleviated. So any allegation that ‘Harapan has breached its Manifesto’ is really no issue at all.

Parliament has a right to override the King on executive matters

The King has executive authority over the Federation. That authority is, however, not absolute. It is subject to the dictates of Parliament: this is because Art 39 states:

‘The executive authority of the Federation shall be vested in the yang di Pertuan Agong and exercisable… by him or by the Cabinet or any Minister authorised by the Cabinet, … but parliament may by law confer executive functions on other persons.’

The AG’s appointment, under the current law, is an exercise of executive authority. If the King does not act on the advice of the Prime Minister, the Constitution grants another route to Parliament. In matters of governance, the primacy of Parliament is constitutionally entrenched. But Parliament has not been convened. That time is not yet come. It will. But can we wait till then?

The power of the Conference of Rulers

The final argument in the opposition’s quiver is that the Conference of Rulers have an absolute power to object to any suggestion of the Prime Minister. This is incorrect. True it is that the Conference of Rulers have certain ‘discretionary’ powers. Article 38 lays it out in great detail. They have a right to be consulted on certain matters.

These are listed with some care: these deal with matters relating the appointment of the King, e.g., include any matter relating to the special position of the Malay rulers, the Islamic religion or the rights of Malays under Article 153 (Reservation of quotas in the services, permits etc. for Malays). True also it is that that Art. 38(2)(c) states that the Conference of Rulers shall exercise its functions of consultation by —

‘… consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference’.

Some argue that Clause (6) gives the Conference of Rulers the right of carte blanche— blank cheque; that that it is ‘an absolute right’. This is what the relevant part of Clause (6) says — … the members of the Conference of Rulers may act in their discretion in any proceedings relating to the following functions, that is to say… (c) consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference; In constitutional theory, the personal prerogative of the monarch is said to contradict democracy.

On a proper reading of Clause 6, this personal power is not absolute.

  • First, much of the strength of these prerogative power are diluted by constitutional principles.
  • Second, other clauses in the Constitution severely limit that power.
  • Third, the ‘right to consultation’ cannot mean an ‘absolute right to refuse.’

That is why the Constitution, with great care, has said, their Highnesses ‘may act in their discretion.’ This discretion is called ‘royal prerogative.’ Blackstone described it as the powers that ‘the king enjoys alone, in contradistinction to others, and not to those he enjoys in common with any of his subjects.’ So they are are ‘personal prerogatives.’ But the principles underlying the exercise of prerogatives have been uniformly accepted without contradiction across the world.

It is for that reason such prerogatives are carefully circumscribed. The way the words in clause 6 are crafted is a call to exercise, in their Highnesses discretion, one of the most fundamental provisions of the Rule of Law: when a constitutional discretion is granted, it cannot be exercised arbitrarily.

So the exercise of the ‘personal prerogative’ must seek to achieve the equality principle rooted as the basic fabric of the Constitution. It must be subject to transparency and good governance. It cannot be exercised arbitrarily. It cannot be exploited capriciously. Such a discretion must be exercised in a way that will aid democracy and uphold the Rule of Law. The words must be construed to comply with the spirit of the Constitution and the Will of the People.

Conclusion

Parliament is not in session. Not yet. Yet someone has to carry the burden of the AG. Charges have to be filed. People have to be hauled up before the courts.

The Cabinet is busy answering a hundred, perhaps a thousand urgent calls upon its time. This amidst the urgent concern that economic matters should be dealt with alacrity. Manifesto or no, Mahathir has to stop the haemorrhage.

The Cabinet cannot hang about. Time is of the essence. Mahathir has to act now. Those who delay the appointment of the AG are doing a great disservice to the toils of an elderly patriot trying to right a wayward ship. These detractors are playing into the hands of the pilferers who have purloined billions from our coffers. They sit pretty, smiling from their strongholds. They think nothing will come upon them so long as they keep raising one constitutional crises after another, and trigger as much unease and delay as possible.

That is why they are delaying the appointment of the AG. They wish to feel safe. They think the GE 14 is a pyrrhic victory. They feel they are untouchable. They must be stopped. As a nation we cannot sit idly by, while these detractors stultify the rakyat’s hard-won victory

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Snippets – 21 September 2017


(We all are friends when your enemy is also my enemy. Pakatan Harapan in place of Pakatan Rakyat – they are better organised and led by experienced people in the political area but will they stick together when their individual objective clashes? Image source: The Malaysian Insight)

Hi folks, it has been sometime since I last blogged – frankly speaking, I have been spending more time at other places (some DIYs at home, updating my Facebook, watching Youtube, playing games, etc) instead of blogging. But it does not mean I have not been keeping up with the news – unfortunately there is more depressing news on where this country is heading. In fact, this particular post and the title had been on a draft mode for months and had undergone several edits so don’t be surprised if you are reading very old news here.

As the date of the next general election draws nearer, I have to say that political situation in this country have continued to get stupid, weird and illogical. The oppositions have finally decided to ditch PAS (although a lifeline still extended to PAS by PKR) and formed Pakatan Harapan in place of the crumbling Pakatan Rakyat but it still shaky alliance with PAS leaning towards more to BN than PH & threaten a 3 corner fight at the elections and the inclusion of Dr M as one of the leaders for Pakatan Harapan had not gone well with some die-hard PH supporters.

But at least, the Pakatan fellows are a bit more organised than before and with Anwar still locked up, they truly need a strong leader to kick start things and no one could it better than Dr M.

The King’s Speech

Recently, I was attracted to a speech that I heard recently – the speech by His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in conjunction with his installation As 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and in particular on his point on unity & good morals:-

As has been proven, people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.

I hope Malaysians will remain as one in maintaining unity, be tolerant, and collectively assume their responsibilities to the state, because this has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

I hope Malaysians will continue to adhere to good moral values and ethics. Be honourable, knowledgeable and respectable individuals who are aware their responsibilities to the country.

(Transcript Source)

Re-read what His Majesty have emphasised and let your mind immerse in it for a moment –

  1. Proven that people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.
  2. An united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

In this country, more often people are divided either based on race or religion and on rare occasion, both race and religion (read Dr M’s – Kafirkah Saya?). This needs to change or we will lose Malaysia as we know it.

That is why I trust that it is a timely advice from His Majesty to the screwed politicians out there who in my mind, lack the will power or the political desire to strengthen the unity among the people and who have often acted opposite of the ideals of “honourable, knowledgeable and respectable”.

And it is a not a big secret that the closer the election gets, the more sensitive decisions will be by those in the power which is based on race or religion just to ensure they get the votes.

Division by Race

The fact that the 3 main political parties in the Government are divided by race says alot about unity of people in this country. Bangsa Malaysia and in recent years, 1Malaysia had remained as a pretty slogans and nothing more.

It is for the same reason why I rather not have Hindraf running for politics and instead work with a more multi racial political parties like DAP and PKR. We don’t need another Indian political party that will only look after the Indians & not the rest of Malaysians – not in the year of 2017.

And talking about classification by race, back in July, the notion of Bumiputera (aka Sons of the Land) was stirred up but from a very unlikely source:-

The government will study in depth the request from the Indian Muslim community to be recognised as Bumiputera, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night.

(Source)

The question is why now and why only Indian Muslim?

What about Chinese Muslims? What about other races who are not Muslims who have been in this country for generations and have sacrificed their time, money and blood for the nation? I know for fact that the war against the Communist would not be successful without the brave Chinese special branch officers and the ultimate sacrifices that they made.

What about Orang Asli – the original Bumiputeras – who have been in this country longer than anyone else?

The Beer Festival Fiasco

(To tell you the truth, I was not aware of this beer festival until PAS made it as a big issue. Image source: TheStar)

PAS today called an annual craft beer festival here next month a “vice festival,” warning that Kuala Lumpur could become known as Asia’s vice centre if such programmes carry on unobstructed.

“The hatred of the majority community towards vice activities should also be given attention and celebrated, not only celebrate the desires of some humans that worship their desires,” he said, further warning that there could be “extremist” actions when society is unable to accept the “treachery” and feel under pressure

(Source)

Such rants from PAS fellows are nothing new – they have been making noise on beers all these years but the problem is they often protest based on flimsy reasons and ignore the giants in the room. This is why they lose their credibility. I mean have you seen any protest from them on pressing issues like the flood mitigation in Kelantan (which happens on yearly basis), increase of HIV cases in the state, abuses in 1MDB, Tabung Haji and Mara and the growth of ISIS influences in the region? And yet, they protest against a festival that is held once a year and only opened to non-Muslims (actually it is held more for foreign tourists) and held indoors where Muslims can easier barred from entering.

And if beer festival is deemed a vice festival, then how PAS justify the many pubs, coffee shops and supermarkets that are selling alcohol on the daily basis and since the British days? Pubs that I know are usually jam packed on Saturdays. And how many drunken driving you heard of in the papers on daily basis against other more serious crimes like robbery and snatch thefts? I see more idiots on the road on daily basis who drive as if they are drunk to the core and yet sober – they poses danger to other road users even without any beer festivals.

Although tasting “250 beers from 43 breweries worldwide” was rather tempting, frankly speaking I rather have cold beer at the comfort of my home whilst watching a good movie. Seriously PAS use of religion against the beer festival is certainly misplaced.

I guess this why we have people like this 21 years old in this country who is bend on killing non-Muslims and destroying worship places of the non Muslims. Just like Zakir Naik who often talks bad about other religions so to promote Islam, you cannot call your religion as compassionate & peaceful if you are going to kill others who have different beliefs from you.

So it was not surprised when the beer festival at the end of the day got cancelled.

Festival organiser, MyBeer, confirmed the cancellation with “disappointment” on Monday.

“At our meeting with DBKL [Kuala Lumpur City Hall] officials, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing,” it said. “We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event.”

(Source)

If it had been cancelled due to organisers had not fulfilled the approval requirements, it would have highly understandable but to say that it is cancelled due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event leads back to the notion that an event for the non-Muslims was cancelled due to the protests by PAS. The government had not banned beers or even decided to ban beer festivals so why DBKL is citing political sensitivity now?

Now MCA says that it was cancelled due to security concerns – if so, who made the threats first? Didn’t PAS promised that there could be “extremist” actions if the festival went ahead? Isn’t this sound ridiculous when you have beer sales and parties on a weekly basis elsewhere and it is safe for the patrons but when PAS protest on it, the event becomes unsafe for the patrons? Will we be cancelling other non-Muslim functions / events in the future whenever there is a protest and threat of security?

It is not a big secret that PAS uses religion as their political agenda and often use it to further their political mileage.

And this is more obvious when PAS proposed the changes under RUU355 (Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355)) although it is about amending an existing law had in existence last 33 years. End of the day, we know that it has nothing to do with religion but rather it is politics. This is why the opposition to RUU355 should not be construed as anti-Islam.

Even the Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali sees it as a political move:-

“The purpose and intention of this is to reap political mileage. Have you heard anybody from the public clamouring for increase of powers of the shariah court? No, nobody asking is asking for it, isn’t it?

“To my reading, it is mainly political. He (Hadi) has to satisfy the states that have already established hudud laws.

(Source)

Always remember that united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength for many years. Don’t change that. Never lose our uniqueness.

Have a great weekend ahead and happy holidays to all

King And I


king and I

(Yul Brynner as the majestic King of Siam in the classic movie King and I – he was born to play the role. Can you image what would have happened if a group of people walked up to the palace and demanded the King of Siam to be replaced with their “a bit-lost” leader? They would have arrested immediately and hanged for high treason. Image source: http://www.doctormacro.com)

At the aftermath of the Lahad Datu intrusion, this was reported back then:-

Eight Filipinos were charged in a Magistrates Court in Lahad Datu today with waging war against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, after their armed intrusion in Sabah ended in deadly clashes with Malaysian security forces. The eight men who were arrested by Malaysia were charged under the Penal Code with waging war against the king and for terrorism.

(Source)

But of course in the Bolehland, double standards and liberal interpretation of the law when it comes to the opposition can be joke of the day:-

Detaining 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists for allegedly waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an extreme interpretation of the law and has been taken out of context, legal experts said. They said the interpretation of Section 122 of the Penal Code was done in “bad faith”.

Thirty of them have been remanded for seven days by the Butterworth magistrate’s court while 16-year-old S Ragu has been released unconditionally.

Police have also seized various items related to the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). They were detained under four charges – illegal assembly, sedition, publishing pamphlets and leaflets against the Printing and Publications Act, and allegedly waging war against the King (under Section 122).

(Source)

No true blood Malaysian including yours truly would stand aside and let anyone to wage war against the King. Waging war against the Yang Dipertuan Agong who represents the sovereign of this nation is serious and is high treason. So when a group of foreigners invaded Lahad Datu and held their claim on a stake of the nation, we were very pissed off and rightfully these invaders (if they are not killed by our security forces) have been charged with waging war against the King. The same charge against PSM may have been a big screw up and a political one (it was clarified later that it was directed to BN and not the King).

However waging war against the King remains a serious charge and so when a group of disillusioned people walked up to the Istana Negara and tried to replace the Yang Dipertuan Agong with their own leader, it reminded us of the same blatant intrusion to our sovereignty in Lahad Datu back then. It was a good thing that the police had acted swiftly by stopping them on their tracks and arrested them. We expected them to be charged accordingly and further investigations to be done to the extent of the influence and the potent threat posed by this group. After all, if they may have tried to “attack” the palace and dispose the king through passive means and failed, what’s stopping them from taking one step further by trying the same with more aggressive methods? So it was a “surprise” and disappointing when this was reported:-

Police will not be taking further action against a group who tried to enter the Istana Negara and tried to ‘replace’ the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with their own leader. “They are a non-violent group that is a bit lost,” City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah told reporters, adding that police will be referring the case to religious authorities. He said investigations into the group that called itself Kumpulan Panji Hitam dari Timur Empayar Langkasuka Nusantara have concluded that they were not a threat.

The group was dressed in black and armed with flags when they gathered in front of the main entrance of the palace at about 4.10am on Aug 5 and were arrested by police shortly after. Ten people were arrested including an 11-year-old girl who was the daughter of the group’s leader. She and her mother, aged 52, were released from detention after two days while the other eight men would be remanded until Aug 17.

(Source)

When the opposition politicians assembled to campaign on the pitfall of the current government, they were detained and charged with illegal assembly, sedition, publishing pamphlets and leaflets against the Printing and Publications Act, and allegedly waging war against the King. But when another group of people does the same, they were deemed as harmless and a bit lost – with no further charge were taken against them? One had to question what’s going on here and what have changed between the two incidents?

Well, it is all fine if indeed they are harmless and a bit lost, no point of charging them further – it will only cause the court, police and the tax-payers unnecessary time and money. We already have the politicians do the plundering, we don’t need others to do the same. But unfortunately staging protest in front of the palace, demanding for a change of the Yang Dipertuan Agong is very serious even for dumb, lost, sick persons. And ignorance of the law should not be a defence. Thus whilst I am not questioning the wisdom of the police in their investigations, I personally feel that the police should not have made such announcement (that they are harmless and will not be charged) so public – refer them to the religious authorities by all means (although I don’t see the connection between the King and religion in this matter) but don’t absorb them from any criminal wrongdoings. There is still element of illegal assembly, trespassing and sedition (Perkasa buggers are not making noise this time? Interesting but not surprised of the silence). I hope despite the announcement by the police that no action will be taken on this group, they are keeping a very close eye on this group and their activities eventhough they may have more pressing matters to attend to.

They need to for 2 key reasons:-

1. To stress the point that protesting and demanding the King to be replaced cannot be tolerated in this country. You may protest of any unwise decision or statement by the King (or any other royalties for that sake) but you cannot demand them to be replaced. Constitutional monarchy is part and parcel of this nation identity and respect. And;

2. To stress that being dumb and being a bit loss is no excuse to avoid the long reach of the law (perhaps the only exception that this may be allowed is if you are politician). The last thing we need to set a very dangerous precedent – that any Tom, Dick and Harry can go around breaking the law and then claim that they are harmless and a bit loss.

Waging war against the King is as good as waging war against Malaysians – we should not let anyone who does that to go free on the notion of them being a bit lost. I hope that the police will be more alert on similar cases and take the right action against them instead of letting them off scot-free. I am sure this will not be last time we will hearing about this group if close monitoring is not done. I also hope that the police will be more careful on what they say in public as it may bring about a wrong perception the enforcement of the law especially after one had seen how selective prosecution and double standard enforcement works in this country.

Bersih 2.0 – The Paranoia Had Started


Congestion caused by a road accident, Algarve,...
Image via Wikipedia

The real madness have started…

I guess one becomes very paranoid all over when one enters the Home Ministry. But with Bersih 2.0, it has gone beyond the realms of paranoia to an extent where wearing certain colored T-shirts could get you arrested.

Early this morning, as I pass the toll plaza and headed towards the city center, I realized that there was a massive traffic jam just after the toll plaza. It was too early in the morning for a traffic jam so at first I thought there must have been an accident. But when I saw flickers of blue lights, cars squeezing into one controlled lane and several policemen standing by the vehicle, not really watching the traffic, I shook my head and cursed silently at those who manned the roadblocks.

I wonder how the situation would be when the peak hours starts but I know it will be very bad. Basically I am not sure how the setup of roadblocks so early in the morning will help in bringing public order – it only going to get worse. I am not sure how many people is going to get their plans for the morning ruined or delayed getting to their destination or workplace.

Today is just Wednesday – there is still 3 more days before the purported rally day and already we are seeing roadblocks. So, do expect more insane measures and more roadblocks as we move nearer towards the weekend even though the street rally have been called off and the rally will be held in a stadium.

And interestingly the acceptance to have the rally in a stadium have certainly put the Government in a fix as highlighted in Anilnetto’s post titled “Stadium it is…“.

How the Government is going to go about it now considering there has been major crackdown on the Bersih 2.0 in past few weeks? Can people wear yellow Bersih 2.0 without fear now? Najib took the easy way out by leaving that decision to the police. The police informed that despite Bersih 2.0 agreed to have the rally in a stadium, Bersih 2.0 still need to apply for a police permit for the rally.

The interesting question would be – since the Bersih 2.0 had met the King and agreed to follow the King’s suggestions and it was the Government who mooted the idea of having the rally in the stadium – will the police now agree to grant the the permit to the organizers?  Because if the police denies the permit, then it is back to square one for Bersih 2.0.

It will be an interesting to see what the Government (who is also controlling the police) will do in the next few days especially after Bersih 2.0 had toned down on the key location of their rally.

In the meantime, be prepared for the insane roadblocks – things like leaving home early, picking the best routes and having a full tank of petrol in the car would helpful.

Bersih 2.0 – The King’s Response


Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel…

(The King who presided over the previous Bersih 1.0 is once again have made declaration that should bring the Government and Bersih 2.0 on talking terms again – hopefully. Image source: http://pinkturtle2.wordpress.com)

Well, it could have been an indirect warning to Bersih 2.0 or it could have been the lifeline that Najib been looking for to bring the tug-of-war between the Government and Bersih 2.0 to a friendlier conclusion but still, it is an interesting and timely statement from the King.

From theSun:-

“I am following closely the developments of the proposed gathering and procession by Bersih with the aim of handing over a memorandum to me as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and how the government, particularly the agencies and departments concerned, is handling the issue.

“However, I believe that the nation’s leadership under Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak is capable of handling this problem in the best possible way.

“I urge that amid the political fervour of a section of the people to bolster democracy in our country, it must also be ensured that this demand on democracy does not bring destruction to the country.

“Generally, we cannot be following too much the practices in other countries, as harmony and stability are vital foundations for a country and which all quarters must protect.

“I also urge the government to carry out everything that is entrusted to it by the people in a just and wise manner, and it is important that I as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong do not want to see this country with a plural society in a situation where there is animosity among them or a section of the people being enemies with the government, on whatever grounds.

“When any problem arises, we as a civilised society must resolve it through consultations and not follow our emotions, as the Malay saying goes, Yang Dikejar Tak Dapat Yang Dikendong Berciciran (Not getting what we chase after and spilling what we carry).

“The fact is, street demonstrations bring more bad than good although the original intention is good. Instead, we should focus on our main objective to develop this country, and not create problems that will cause the country to lag behind.

“Remember that there is no land where the rain does not fall, there is no ocean that is not turbulent. That is how important moderation and compromise is, which has been long been in practice by our nation’s administration.”

Yes, it is a translated text (read here for the BM version) but there are wise messages for both side of the divide from the King and if one read between the lines (rather widely, of course), is the King telling the Government that they are not handling the situation wisely?

Consider these statements:-

“…Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak is capable of handling this problem…”

The King says Najib is capable of, he did not say Najib IS handling the best possible way. As at todate, instead of engaging Bersih 2.0 in a more matured ways, the Government unfortunately has only acted irrational and with a pinch of paranoia from labeling the organizers as trouble makers, banning yellow Bersih T-shirts under an unnamed law, arresting groups of protestors under unimaginative charges, to stopping pre Bersih 2.0 rallies.

“….a section of the people being enemies with the government…”

Instead using the label “trouble makers” for the organizers of Bersih 2.0, the King calls them “a section of the people” which is true and admirable because Bersih 2.0 at the end of the day is nothing but ordinary citizens who have certain demands for the Government. And when the ordinary citizens are deemed to be enemies of the Government, it is actually reflecting badly on the Government, not the people. This is because Government is elected by the people and once you fall out with the people, it could mean the end of you in the next elections.

No doubt, there were messages for Bersih 2.0 as well – to continue with direct engagements with the relevant stakeholders instead of doing it through street rallies and demonstrations. And there seems to be some positive development towards that both from Bersih 2.0 and the Government (they seems to agree on rally to be held in a stadium now) but do expect massive traffic jam during the weekend especially towards the city centre.

The ball is in the Government’s court now – demands of Bersih 2.0 only calls for betterment of the election process (minus the call for street rally perhaps). We would not have even gotten to Bersih 1.0 if the whole election process has been well managed and fair from the very start but the truth of the matter is that it is not – one must admit that loopholes still exists and even the EC has admitted that there is “only so much” they could do although many may disagree with this – certainly “cleaning the electoral roll, reforming postal balloting, use of indelible ink, and minimum 21 days campaigning period is well within the ambit and ability of the EC.

P.s. In the meantime, it seems that Ibrahim Ali is now so upset because the King is willing to see the organizers of Bersih 2.0 and not him. His quote of the day – “We at Perkasa have written many times to meet with the King on several issues but we’ve never gotten that” was timely responded by one of reader with this statement “Ibrahim Ali? Perkasa? I am not surprised with Istana Negara’s decision”. Now that is funny!

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