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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nizar slams BN for denying Perakians forum for debate


IPOH, March 31: Deposed Mentri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin led a walkout of Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers from the Perak state assembly to protest the “incompetent and grossly unfair” conduct of BN Speaker R Ganesan, whom he accused of rushing to adjourn the sitting so as to deny the Pakatan and the Perak people any forum for debate.

"At the end of the day, it is the Perak people who will lose the most. If the BN are always going to shorten the sessions because they don't have the confidence for discourse and debate, how are Perakians to voice their grievances," Nizar told Harakahdaily.

"Where can they take their grouses if not through their assemblymen in the Dewan? So this very important issue is being lost in the petty details now being sensationalized by the BN press. Yes, we are upset at the injustice, but more than that, we are angry we have been denied the right to carry out our duties to our constituents."

Bid to rush through and adjourn sitting

Indeed, Nizar and his team have been pressing for a five-day sitting, but this was denied by Ganesan. The sitting, which began on Tuesday, has already been adjourned following a hasty debate on the Regent of Perak's opening address. However, this took place only after the Pakatan walkout at around 11am.

"As we were leaving the hall, all of a sudden we heard on the mike a motion to debate Raja Nazrin's address. Before that, there was no such motion and it was precisely because of this very rude omission that Sivakumar and I raised the point to Ganesan. But he stubbornly refused to acknowledge his mistake and true enough, later on, his colleagues had to cover up for him," Nizar said.

"We can excuse his inexperience but we cannot accept his arrogance and incompetence. The BN must learn to be professional especially in the House. All along we have said Ganesan’s appointment is illegal and we have been challenging it in the courts. Today, he has proven that we are right."

No proper agenda drawn up

According to Pakatan assemblymen, at every step of the way, Ganesan was guided by BN Mentri Besar Zambry Kadir. The pair tried to ignore any call or speech from the Pakatan side, deliberately switching off their microphones at whim and fancy.

“Out of respect to the Regent of Perak, both sides tried to control themselves on Tuesday, but today, without Raja Nazrin, Ganesan and Zambry began to throw their weight around,” Perak DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham told Harakahdaily.

“Not only was their behaviour childish, they did not have any proper agenda for the sitting. We were shocked when we arrived that even the Regent's speech was not put in for debate. This is a serious breach of etiquette. It is clear BN did not have any intention at all for any serious parliamentary discussion or debate. They just wanted to adjourn the whole session as quickly as they could."

Pakatan to seek audience with Regent

Indeed, members of the public and the media were only allowed to watch the proceedings from the gallery a floor above the hall. However, many of them still managed to note that the microphones of the Pakatan lawmakers were frequently switched off to frustrate their speech and silence their objections.

“Ganesan needs to learn about basic House rules and how to raise a simple point of order. At the moment, he doesn’t know anything but we are not interested to dwell on him, Nizar said.

"What we are concerned about is a functioning Perak state assembly and at the moment, we don't have that because the BN is too scared to hold proper sittings. This cannot go on at the expense of the people and we will bring it up to the Raja Nazrin.

According to Nizar, he will be writing to the Regent to seek an audience for all 28 of the Pakatan lawmakers. They intend to personally explain their walkout this morning and to complain about dysfunctional way in which the sitting had been conducted, disallowing the people's problems to be aired and discussed as they should have been.

"Firstly, we must address the discourtesy shown by the BN towards the Regent's speech. We also need to raise the problems that we are now facing in carrying our duties in the Dewan. It is not tit-for-tat, the Perak people are entitled to democratic parliamentary discussion and the BN is obstructing this," Nizar said.

Police assembly
He will also be writing to the Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan to complain about the "shockingly high presence" of police personnel in the state assembly surroundings.

Ganesan, a lawyer who was controversially appointed, was also slammed for allowing ‘security personnel’ or bodyguards into the House. The MIC leader had earlier boasted that if he felt he needed 100 security guards, he would hire 100.

“The House compound and assembly hall entrance was crawling with policemen. There were at least 30 of them at the door where the Pakatan reps were ushered through. There were scanners and metal detector, but needless to say, the BN side was allowed to just breeze through a separate door," Nizar said.

Meanwhile, ousted Pakatan Speaker V Sivakumar’s year-old suit against the Election Commission for failing to declare vacant the seats of three defecting Pakatan lawmakers is due to be at the Kuala Lumpur High Court  on Wednesday.

The court is also due to fix the hearing date for his appeal against the Ipoh High Court’s decision to strike out his application for an injunction stopping Ganesan from usurping his role as Speaker.

(Edited by Wong Choon Mei)


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