Malaysia’s Week of Anarchy
Posted by Oscar the Grouch on May 10, 2009
When the three Pakatan assemblymen “defected” to Barisan Nasional in February 2009, the Sultan of Perak had two choices at hand: – either to dissolve the state assembly or to hand power to the BN. The Sultan opted for the latter; dismissing Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, which caused the fall of the Pakatan government in Perak.
Why he did this, no one knows. Some argued that the Sultan was merely exercising his discretion. Others say that he has no right to do so – as the state constitution does not empower the Sultan to dismiss a Menteri Besar. One line of contention says that the Sultan did not agree to dissolution as this would involve a state election, which curtails a lot of cost and expense.
If economic issues are the deriding factors, then the Sultan is resolving the issue at the expense of democracy. There can never be a price tag placed on democracy. Policy reasons – such as time, costs, expense, convenience and even legal technicalities – cannot be used as a trade-off to democracy and justice. That is why we have paid dearly for it. As a trade-off to democracy, we now have a week of anarchy, lawlessness, chaos and disorder.
IMAGINE THIS – Bersih’s representative Wong Chin Huat was arrested for urging the public to wear black as a sign of protest of the Perak state government takeover. Just when is it an offence to protest against something? Protesting was never an offence.
There are many types of protest – there are many ways to protest – and there are many causes to protest. I can protest against violence to whales; against the use of fur coats; or against bank interest. It is not an offence to protest. The only offence is the mode of protest. If I run naked across Dataran Merdeka to protest against the whales – then I should rightly be charged – for indecent exposure.
But Wong Chin Huat’s case is beyond reasoning and logic. Just by telling people to wear black is now an offence? What next? What if I hold a press conference asking people not to eat sharks’ fin during wedding dinners? Am I going to be arrested as well? What about those blokes who asked people to protest against the Zionist regime by not buying goods manufactured by the west? Why were they not arrested?
AND IMAGINE THIS – persons getting arrested for actually wearing black. Colour coordination is now a criminal offence in Malaysia; and black is definitely not in. In the good old days – not wearing clothes in public is an offence – today wearing clothes is an offence. What next? Can I be arrested if I wear a Save the Whale protest t-shirt? What kind of law is this?
AND IMAGINE THIS – five lawyers from the KL Legal Aid Centre were similarly arrested when they went to the Brickfields Police Station to represent those arrested earlier. On what grounds were the lawyers arrested? Isn’t legal representation central to the rule of law? The Criminal Procedure Code guarantees access to lawyers. One has a constitutional right to legal representation. But no sir, Malaysia is now a state of anarchism. Not only one is denied lawyers, the lawyers are also arrested.
AND IMAGINE THIS – scenes of scuffle and mayhem in the State Legislative Assembly; and the State Speaker being replaced, not by proper means, but by physically and brutishly manhandled and carried away. Is this what we call law and democracy? The BN government has aptly described the incident as jungle law; and I can’t help agreeing to it. What else can you call the power-grab debacle – when all else fails, brute force is all that is required to overthrow the government.
What next? Why not physically throw out a judge when a ruling is not in one’s favour? The law of the jungle prevails anyway. The moment the High Court Judge declares Nizar the lawful Menteri Besar, just shut down the microphone; immediately have a load of unnamed personnel (not court officials) swarms around the judge before carrying him / her away; and replacing with a “friendly” judge to give a decision?
THIS, MY DEAR FRIENDS – is the things that we saw during Malaysia’s week of anarchy. There will be no price tag in substitution of democracy – to do so will cost us dearly – and Malaysia have dearly paid the price for it this week.