Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Institutions breaking down, says Bar Council - Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 2 – The Bar Council is alarmed at the topsy-turvy turn of events taking place in Perak which is fast turning into the battleground for a no-holds-barred fight over who is the lawful head of the state government.

Its president, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told The Malaysian Insider late today she was “surprised” to learn the Perak police chief had acted so quickly in putting up road blocks around the state legislature building based on a statement put out by the state assembly secretary.

“The secretary does not have the authority to make a legal pronouncement,” she noted, referring to today’s unsigned notice from the state assembly secretary’s office declaring Speaker V. Sivakumar’s planned emergency meeting tomorrow as invalid.

“We are very surprised the police is ignoring the Speaker,” she added.

“Our institutions, that is the courts, the police, et cetera, are being tested and we can judge for ourselves whether they are acting independently or not,” said Ambiga.

"There are serious doubts as to whether the police is acting independently,” she added.

She observed that what is going on in the state “shows a total breakdown in relation to the structures and sanctity of the legislature”.

“It shows a violation of the role of the Speaker and an intrusion into the processes of the legislative assembly,” she elaborated, noting that the Sspeaker, much like the status of the Attorney General, should also be seen as an institution in its own right.

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