Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My views on the Perak 'crisis'.

There's already enough articles on the net talking about this issue. Most of my friends, though, support the notion that BN was in the absolute wrong in the Perak crisis. I would like to disagree with them slightly on this issue. Although I detest the way BN handled the Perak crisis, it is the method which BN try to 'justify' their claims that I disagree, not the claim itself.

Technically, there is absolutely nothing wrong about claiming majority in Perak because the truth is BN DOES HAVE majority. You may not like how BN got its majority, but this doesn't change the fact and defection is perfectly legal, though it may not be ethical. They (the defectors) could do it (defect), though they should not have do it.

You may claim that 'the people' disagreed with these defections. But, the people had their chance in the last general election and we screwed it. Whether it's a deception or just bad luck, we voted and it turned out that we had 'bad eye-sight' and we misjudged the character of some of our representatives (note: we were wrong in the judgement of the person but not necessarily the party). Technically, it is absolutely not necessary to go through another election to decide whether the people does indeed disagree with the defections. Election is important, but this is not a process that we have to go through over and over again to settle disputes. At least, technically, this is not a requirement. Besides, the so-called people who disagreed with the defections are the 50+% people that voted for the opposition in the general election a year ago. Even if 55% agree with Pakatan, there'd still be 45% that disagree. Are those 45% not also 'people'? The opposition have always claim that democracy is not just about majority but also about the respect for the minority. And they should stop being a hypocrite now.

What that may have gone wrong is that BN was too impatient and couldn't wait to table the vote of no confidence. What may have gone wrong is that the Sultan of Perak has decided to act a bit too quickly. If BN just waited for the next meeting to table the vote of no confidence, none of this would have happened, and BN would have won it fair and square. But perhaps there is a good reason for BN to be impatient. 'Frogs' like to jump a lot. One day they can jump here, another day they can jump elsewhere. So it was perhaps important for them to seize the day.

Initially, I was very reluctant to write this post because BN already has enough ammunition against the Pakatan (BN controls police, the courts and the mainstream media), and I didn't want to add any more ammunition for a government that I did not vote for. But I figured, if n>>0, then n+1≈n. I'm that small and I probably wouldn't matter. =D

However, as I have said earlier, what I was totally disgusted was the manner which BN handled the so-called crisis. The way BN control the courts, the police, the mainstream media were totally disgusting. The confiscation of Pakatan's DVDs of the May 7 events but did nothing for BN's 'showcase' of the same thing days later was utter double standard; denying detainees the access to lawyers; dragging of the 'former' speaker of Perak, etc. All the detentions that has happened so far was absolutely unnecssary. What was the danger of these protests? Some was just a 20 person candlelight vigil, what possible harm could that cause to the 'harmony' of the country? BN is going to win the courtcase and Zambry is going to be the CM anyway. So these 'aggressions' were totally unnecessary but was only used as a 'shock-and-awe' strategy to intimidate the people and democracy.

Again, I reiterate - it was the means the our PM has sought to justify the claims that has disgusted me and make me wonder after this person's ethic and worry about our future since he is our leader for years to come.

Another question is that does the Sultan has the absolute power and discretion to refuse the CM's request to dissolve the assembly? Or to appoint a new CM once the former CM has ceased to command the confidence of the assembly?

I'm not a lawyer by profession. So I do not know if the Sultan does really have the abovementioned powers. But I do feel that the Sultan SHOULD NOT HAVE those powers. It's a no-brainer (my former Senior Manager's favourite words) that Malaysia is not a feudal or monarchy state. We are not ruled by the Kings and Queens. As much as we respect our Sultan, and appreciate the royalty as an integral part of our heritage and identity, it is clear that the Sultan's power to rule the country is and must only be symbolic. This is what constitutional monarchy system should be about.

If the Sultan has the power to refuse the CM's or PM's request to dissolve the assembly, then the Sultan would be in indirect control of the date of the elections. This is unacceptable under the principle of democracy or a nation ruled by the people, of the people and for the people. Election is an integral part of a modern democratic nation and it is not an overstatement to claim that election is the single thing that a democratic nation cannot do without. Election is the sole process where people are able to 'rule' the nation and it is the mechanism that most clearly differentiates us from the obsolete monarchy system of the past. The CM is elected by the people, and therefore has been entrusted by the people to decide when to dissolve the state assembly and call for the next election. The Sultan, on the contrary, isn't.

If the Sultan also has the power to elect a new CM, once the current CM has ceased to command the confidence of the assembly. Then this would mean that the Sultan will have, at its complete subjective discretionary, the power to decide whether one has ceased to command the confidence. This would be disaster for democracy. It would mean that the Sultan can just choose whoever to be our country's leader. Then how would this system differ from one of the feudal or monarchy state in our history books, which countless nations fought so hard to get-rid off? (In the history of Malaysia, this has never occured because we were colonised since 1511. But if we look at the history of France (French Revolution), China (the fall of the dynasties), U.K. (Oliver Cromwell), etc. this is not uncommon.)

I am of course not asking to get rid of our Sultan or the royalty. I have a lot of respect for the Sultan and the instituition. But I failed to understand his decision this time round but I'm sure he has his reasons for choosing to do so. However, other than saying that he has the right to do so, he has said so little else about his decision. I hope to hear more from him soon in the press.

If you are unsure about what actually happened in Perak, refer to the comment I posted here.

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