Monday, October 12, 2009

Battleground Ipoh: Yet another scuffle in the august House

Perak state secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim (third from left) being told by Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen not to interfere in the state assembly sitting. - 7 May, 2009

Battleground Ipoh: Yet another scuffle in the august House.
Thursday, 07 May 2009 01:13pm
2:15pm Barisan and Pakatan reps get into a shouting and shoving match around “new” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan. Barisan reps try to pull their man away, but several Pakatan reps are shoving their way through, shouting “Bubar ADUN” (“Dissolve the Assembly”) and “You are not my Speaker!”

The State Secretary, ousted mentri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and the Barisan-appointed executive councillors are standing outside the fray.

2:05pm MIKE WRESTLING MATCH ON!! “New” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan re-enters the hall to resume his place in anticipation of the opening address by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah.

Another brief scuffle ensues as Pakatan reps try to get Ganesan to leave. DAP’s Thomas Su tries to grab the microphone from Ganesan, forcing Barisan reps form a protective ring around Ganesan, who is seated on the “Barisan side” of the hall.

Some shouting and pushing goes on as Pakatan reps try to shout down Ganesan.

2:00pm A small group of people have gathered outside the Federal Reserve Unit base in Ipoh where more than 30 of the 64 people arrested this morning are being kept.

Supporters are encouraging motorists to honk their horns as a show of protest against the arrests. It’s mighty noisy in “sleepy old” Ipoh town.

12:58pm “New” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan attempts to reconvene the sitting, but is shouted out by Pakatan reps.

Exco Hamidah Osman proposes the House adjourns for another hour, to shouts of "Ular, ular!" (snake, snake) from Pakatan reps.

The motion is seconded and Ganesan announces that the House will adjourn for an hour. Again, nobody leaves the hall.

The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, has yet to deliver his opening address.

12:50pm Royal address by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, is delayed once again.
Barisan and Pakatan reps are seen chatting with each other in the middle of the hall.

“Former” Speaker V. Sivakumar remains rooted to the Speaker’s chair.

12:45pm Perak Umno Youth lawyer Saiful Adli Mohd Arshad says he had lodged a police report at the Ipoh district police station at 11:30am against “former” Speaker V. Sivakumar for asking Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, six executive councillors and three Barisan-friendly independent assemblymen to leave the hall.

Saiful Adli alleges that Sivakumar’s instructions were in contempt of a Federal Court order that had declared his suspension of Dr Zambry and the six excos as invalid.

In his police report, Saiful Adli named his source of information as being The Star SMS News Alert.

12:20pm Pakatan reps engage in some good-natured ribbing with “new” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan in the middle of the hall. A few Barisan reps move to “defend” him.

A Barisan rep has a brief scuffle with some Pakatan reps after DAP’s Thomas Su calls on Ganesan to leave. Scuffle ends with assemblymen from both sides who succeed in getting everybody to cool off.

12:15pm Sitting resumes. “Former” Speaker V. Sivakumar and some Pakatan reps ask “new” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan to leave the hall. Ganesan is attired in the official Speaker’s garb. A heated argument ensues.

12:01pm Perak assemblymen still observing one-hour adjournment. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and executive councillors return to the hall after a short break.
The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, is expected to deliver his opening address at 12:30pm.

The address was initially supposed to have been delivered this morning after a short statement from “former” Speaker V. Sivakumar, but he had instead used the opportunity to order Dr Zambry and six executive councillors -- whom he had suspended earlier -- as well as the three “Barisan-friendly” independent reps, out of the Dewan.

This had sparked the shouting match and the proposing of motions ahead of the original agenda.
Sivakumar is still seated in the Speaker’s chair and is conferring with his Pakatan Rakyat colleagues. “New” Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan is conferring with his Barisan colleagues. More sparks are expected.

Noon “Former” Speaker V. Sivakumar says this mornings proceedings are not valid, noting that the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, had yet to deliver his opening address. Sivakumar says that the sitting proper begins only after the opening address.

It is believed that Raja Nazrin is preparing to deliver his address as soon as the one-hour adjournment is over.

11:20am House also passes motion to declare March 3 “under the tree” sitting as invalid and the resolutions passed therein as invalid.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir asks for Assembly to “stand down” for an hour. All assemblymen return to their seats.

V. Sivakumar is still seated in the Speaker’s chair. Ganesan is seated in a chair behind Dr Zambry with the Barisan assemblymen.

11.05am Newly-appointed Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan receives motions to form new committees for Public Accounts, Standing Orders, as well as Rights Privileges, with new members. All motions are passed.

10:55am Datuk R. Ganesan puts on the Speaker’s robes to the cheers of Barisan assemblymen and Barisan-friendly independent reps and takes his oath. Sivakumar stands up to protest.

10:42am Former mentri besar and Pengkalan Hulu assemblyman Tajol Rosli and several Barisan reps declare that all 28 Barisan reps and the three Barisan-friendly assemblymen have voted to remove V. Sivakumar as Speaker.

V. Sivakumar’s microphone is switched off. Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong, whose resignation from DAP led to the Barisan takeover of the state government, tries to take over the Speaker’s role.

Hee announces that Sivakumar has to leave the hall because the majority has voted him out and he has lost the confidence of the assembly.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir proposes Datuk R. Ganesan be appointed the new Speaker. Hamidah Osman seconds the motion and Hee announces at 10:50am that Ganesan is the new Speaker. Sivakumar still refuses to leave.

Earlier, Sivakumar had directed the sergeant-at-arms to remove Dr Zambry, his six excos and the three independents from the hall, but the sergeant-at-arms refused to follow his instructions.

10:35am After 20mins of shouting, nothing has been really settled.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir twice tries to put forward a motion to sack Speaker V. Sivakumar, with all Barisan Nasional reps raising their hands in agreement. Sivakumar rejects the motion both times.

Pakatan reps are chanting “Keluar, keluar” (“out, get out”). Sivakumar is still calling for the suspended Zambry and his six excos to leave the hall before proceedings can begin.

10:25am Yet more arrests (again!) outside the state secretariat, this time it’s Dr Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa of PAS. DAP vet Lim Kit Siang says others arrested include DAP Ayer Tawar councillor Phang Hean Chong and Ipoh councillor Chan Tong Tuan.

10:15am Assembly gets heated, with intense shouting match. Speaker V. Sivakumar directs Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and the six state executive councillors Zambry had appointed to leave the Assembly. Sivakumar had last month suspended them.

Dr Zambry and the Barisan reps sitting on the left of the Speaker ignore calls from Pakatan reps for those suspended to leave the Dewan. Sivakumar refuses to begin proceedings unless the suspended lawmakers leave.

10:06am Yet another arrest, this time of Sg Siput Member of Parliament Jeyakumar, who was detained about 10m from the so-called “democracy tree” where the historic “under the tree” assembly was held on March 3.

10:05am All Perak state assemblymen, special guests with invitations and accredited media are allowed into the Dewan. Pakatan reps sit on the right side of the Speaker (the “government side”).

Police conduct strict checks of all ID passes. All people scanned with metal detectors. Men without songkok (Malay headgear) and a female reporter in traditional Punjabi outfit were denied entry.

Shouting can be heard from within the Dewan.

10:01am PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub detained for illegal assembly about 20m from the so-called “democracy tree” where the historic “under the tree” assembly was held on March 3.
10:00am The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, arrives at the state secretariat building.
9:50am According to Lim Kit Siang, those arrested so far include Lau Dak Kee, DAP veteran chairman, former rep R.K. Muthu, blogger Zorro (Bernard Khoo), Lee Kong Hing, previous Negri Sembilan state organising secretary, Sg Pinang rep Koid Teng Guan, Bahau rep Tey Kok Seong, Temiang rep Ng Chin Tsai, Teratai rep Jenice Lee, Melaka rep Khoo Poay Tiong, Taiping DAP Youth chief Tey Kok Lim.

9:40am Another two arrests, this time it’s DAP’s R.K. Muthu, former Gopeng assemblyman, and former Perak DAP chief Lau Dak Kee.

9:30am Police and FRU (Field Reserve Unit) rush to a coffeeshop near state secretariat building where supporters (believed to be DAP) have gathered. In their attempt to disperse the crowd, a scuffle ensues. The coffeeshop owner is now closing his shop.

Eight more people arrested, to bring the total to 20, for going against the court order and gathering within 500m of the state secretariat building. Their identities are unknown.

9:15am Tight security maintained around state secretariat building, honour guard has arrived ahead of the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, who will deliver the opening address at the Assembly.

9:00am Police detain P. Sugumaran, political secretary to Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament M. Kulasegaran, for trying to force his way through the barricades surrounding the state secretariat building.

8:55am Police truck carrying first batch of detainees leaves the state secretariat building. Among the 11 arrested is Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee.

8:45am Police arrest three men wearing t-shirts with the slogan “Kembalikan hak rakyat” (Give the people back their rights) after a scuffle outside the state secretariat building.

8:32am Police arrest PKR Wanita national chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and a few supporters for trying to force their way into the state secretariat building. Supporters are wearing black and carrying banners with pictures of the royalty.

8:20am All 28 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, including ousted mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and perhaps-soon-to-be-ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar leave for the state secretariat building from the Grand View Hotel in Ipoh in a convoy of cars led by police escort.

6:45am Police seize more than 200 t-shirts with the words “One Black Malaysia” printed on them from a stall next to the Kampung Manjoi Baru surau.

5:30am Pakatan Rakyat holds a mass prayer at a surau (Muslim shrine) in Kampung Manjoi Baru in Ipoh; participants pray for the State Legislative Assembly to be dissolved.

IPOH: All eyes are on this so-called sleepy town once more as the battle lines are drawn between the legitimate Perak state government and the party holding on to power without a mandate -- yet which party wears which label is still a matter of fierce dispute.

The war between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat has seen battles in backrooms and courtrooms, on the streets and under a rain tree, in the corridors of power and within the drawing rooms of the populace.

This time the arena is again the State Legislative Assembly, with a strong show of supporters expected at the state secretariat building despite police warnings not to gather and a court order barring any member of the public or a political party without legitimate business from approaching within 500m of the building.

Pakatan is eager to defer any sitting to after May 13 -- the six-month deadline from the last sitting in November last year -- so that the Assembly is automatically dissolved and fresh elections have to be called.

Meanwhile, Barisan is pinning its hopes on the sitting on so that they can hold on to power until the next general election.

The battle proper will begin after the opening royal address by the Raja Muda (Regent) of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah.

There will be many duels, from the petty to the iconic, in the august House Thursday morning -- from which assemblymen get to sit on the “state government seats,” to the expected motion of no-confidence that Barisan will use to see off the thorn in their side, Speaker V. Sivakumar, and appoint a new one.

As the Speaker, Sivakumar could reject the motion and all hell could break loose very early in the day. Or he could try to adjourn the sitting after the royal address.

Whatever ever happens in the Assembly today, it is a sure bet that the war will not end here and it will be some time before the people of Perak get to see some peace and quiet in their “sleepy town.”

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