By: P Ramakrishnan
19 May 2009
The claim by self-proclaimed Speaker of the Perak State Assembly, R Ganesan, that he had no choice but to summon the police into the House at the height of the ruckus during the May 7 sitting, is dubious and deceiving (Sunday Star 17 May 2009). There is no merit in his claim.
In the first instance, his entry into and his very presence in the Assembly is questionable. How on earth did Ganesan get into the Assembly? The Assembly building was out of bounds to all except the elected members of the Assembly.
There was a police cordon to prevent all the others from entering the Assembly. A 500 metre no-access zone was declared and anyone found anywhere near this perimeter were either chased away or were arrested when they resisted the police orders.
Even Perak Members of Parliament were denied access to the Assembly. Veteran MP Lim Kit Siang was refused entry into the building in spite of the fact that he had come with the invitation letter from the Speaker to attend the Assembly sitting.
Likewise, Kulasegaran and Dr Jeyakumar, both elected MPs from Perak were turned away. That’s how strict the police were. They stringently enforced this ruling of refusing permission to all and sundry.
So the natural question is: How did Ganesan gain entry into the building. Who authorized his presence in the Perak State Assembly? How did he by-pass the police security arrangement? How did he hood-wink the police? How come the police did not detect him? Was he smuggled in? Was he planted in the building the previous day?
Is it possible that the police were working hand in glove with illegitimate MB Zambry and BN Assemblymen and facilitated Ganesan’s presence in the building?
Ganesan had no business to be inside the Assembly. One can safely conclude that his appearance and continued presence in the Assembly prompted and provoked a situation which went beyond control.
Secondly, contrary to his claim that he had no choice but to call in the police, if indeed he was the Speaker of the Assembly as he claims, he could have adjourned the Assembly sitting, following which he and his cohorts could have left the Assembly.
This simple action would have prevented the Assembly from becoming chaotic and unruly. Since he did not do this, it can be rightly construed that he had contributed to the topsy-turvy situation.
The illegitimate MB and the Barisan Nasional Assemblypersons by smuggling in Ganesan had incited the unruly behaviour.
Thirdly, the way Ganeson was ‘elected’ Speaker was also questionable. According to Speaker V Sivakumar, the Assembly had not been convened. In other words, the Assembly was not in session.
Sivakumar had stated that he would not convene the Assembly as long as those ordered out of the House were still inside. That was his stated position. That being the case, how was Ganesan elected when the Assembly was not in session?
Can a group of BN Assemblymen get together privately in one corner of the Assembly building when the Speaker was still occupying his chair and elect someone else? We have a situation when an outsider appears mysteriously in the building and he was elected Speaker when the Assembly had not officially convened.
This was not the only absurd situation we had on 7 May. On that day, we also seemed to have had two Speakers and two Menteris Besar at the same time in the same building!
The Standing Orders of the Assembly were thrown to the winds and the proper procedures that had to be followed were totally ignored. And that was the reason why things turned ugly, unruly and chaotic on May 7.
A BN-Police conspiracy?
Ganesan further contributed to the chaos by ordering the police to forcibly evict Sivakumar from the Assembly. What were the police doing inside the Assembly? Ganesan did not send someone to invite the police to do his bidding. They were already there waiting for his orders. Isn’t that very strange!
By calling on the police to drag out the duly elected Speaker from the Assembly, Ganesan had defiled and desecrated the sanctity of the Assembly. It is an unforgivable sin that he had committed that must be roundly condemned. We should never introduce thuggish behaviour into the legislative assembly where the rule of law should have been paramount and should have prevailed at all times.
What transpired as a result of Ganesan’s conduct raises many serious questions. Why did the police obey him? How did they know he was the new speaker? Was there an announcement that Sivakumar was ousted?
Or was this part of a pre-prepared and pre-rehearsed script? The way things fell into place would indicate that there was a scheme to capture the Perak state government, if necessary, by force. The plot was hatched studiously and implemented without a care for the rule of law.
This is a dangerous precedent and it should not be tolerated. It must be condemned in the strongest terms. There must be retribution for this outrageous behaviour.
Perakians will remember this shameful episode in their proud history and they will punish all those who frustrated the democratic will of the people.