Thursday, May 7, 2009

Perak State Assembly Crisis - MalaysiaKini Updates 7 May 2009

Perak Speaker Sivakumar being forced out from the State Assembly Chair!

5.10pm: BN speaker Ganesan tells reporters that he does not see any problems with regards to executing his duties in future.

"There is a maxim in democracy - majority rules. BN has 31 (seats), Pakatan has 28. The majority elected the speaker."

Asked on how he plans to keep the House in order, he replies: "I won't be a dictator. I will do my duty as per standing orders."

On the manner he was elected, Ganesan (left) says the issue of an 'illegal speaker' does not arise because BN has the majority.

"Sivakumar was removed as per standing order."

5.06pm: Nizar leaves the building and is seen waving at journalists as well as police personnel.

5.03pm: Sivakumar leaves the state secretariat building. His car briefly stops at the gates to allow photographers to snap a few shots.

5pm: Nizar tells a press conference that as far as Pakatan is concerned, the House did not sit today. He says that whatever BN did was "illegal and unconstitutional".

As for the regent's speech, the ousted MB describes it "as just a royal speech, nothing more than that. It is not opening the assembly."

4.30pm: PAS' Salahuddin Ayub says all the elected reps arrested earlier have been released.

4.05pm: Perak regent Nazrin leaves the chamber. BN-appointed MB Zambry suggests for the House to be adjourned. Pakatan reps repeatedly shout ‘Dissolve the assembly’ again.

New speaker Ganesan adjourns the assembly to a date to be decided. Pakatan reps call press conference inside the assembly.

4pm: PKR election strategy director and Batu parliamentarian Tian Chua is arrested outside the state secretariat building in Ipoh. The police inform him that the area has been cordoned off. The opposition politician tells police that he is there to greet his Pakatan colleagues.

Although he was accompanied by PKR treasurer William Leong and several other party leaders, the police only detained him. He is forcefully dragged to an unmarked police vehicle.

3.47pm: Raja Nazrin ends his royal speech. He does not touch on the ongoing political crisis in the state during his 30-minute speech. He spoke on the stimulus packages and development of the state. A closing prayer session is underway.

3.36pm: Sivakumar's official car is seen returning to the state secretariat building with the same woman passenger.

3.16pm: Order is resumed in the dewan and Raja Nazrin starts his royal address.

3.15pm: Regent of Perak Raja Nazrin enters the House and talks to Nizar and DAP's Ngeh Khoo Ham. Following this, Nizar tells all Pakatan reps to take their seat and they obey.

The police install a new chair for Ganesan as the old speaker's chair was damaged during the earlier scuffle. The plainclothes personnel have also left the House.

3.12pm: Sivakumar's official Toyota Camry bearing the registration plate 'AFD 999' is seen leaving the state secretariat building with a woman passenger but the speaker is not in the car.

3.10pm: Ganesan adjourns the House in order to wait for the Regent of Perak to deliver his official address.

3.05pm: Ganesan starts chairing the meeting and calls for the customary prayers to be recited. He also calls for the removal of two Pakatan reps but no action is taken to do so.

Sivakumar's wife is enraged and demands to see her husband. The 'officials' then take her to see the Pakatan speaker but nobody else is allowed to meet him.

3pm: PAS youth chief Salahuddin Ayub who was arrested this morning told Malaysiakini that he was being held at the Sungai Senam police station in Ipoh.

He said there are about 40 others who were arrested this morning at the station. He added that he had given a statement to the police but has not been informed when he will be released.

Meanwhile it is learnt that the police have released 13 people who were arrested this morning.

It could not be ascertained the exact number of people arrested this morning but DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said the number stood at 64.

2.55pm: The same group of 'officials' escort Ganesan to the speaker's chair.

2.41pm: A group of men clad in jackets grab hold of Sivakumar and forcibly remove him from the House. The men are believed to be police personnel.

2.35pm: Attempts by the sergeant-at-arms and state assembly staff to remove Sivakumar are being resisted by the speaker and Pakatan reps. Some other Pakatan assemblypersons are continuing with their attempts to eject BN speaker Ganesan from the house.

2.30pm: The situation is still chaotic in the house. The sergeant-at-arms is now trying to remove Sivakumar from the speaker's chair to allow Ganesan to assume the chair.

2.15pm: ROUND 3 - TUSSLE FOR SPEAKER'S SEAT The assembly resumes. Pakatan reps are trying to physically stop Ganesan from entering the chamber.

There is a lot of pushing and shoving among the state reps. A few punches are being thrown about as well. A number of reps climb up the table. It is complete pandemonium in the assembly.

A couple of police officers are now inside the assembly to try to restore order. Pakatan reps shout at the police to leave the assembly.

At the same time, the BN reps are trying to force Sivakumar out of the speaker's chair but he is being protected by some Pakatan assemblypersons.

12.55pm: BN speaker Ganesan announces that the House will be adjourned for another hour. This is the second adjournment he has announced since been appointed by the BN as the speaker.

As he is unfamiliar with the House standing orders and has to be helped by BN exco Hamidah (Sungai Rapat), he is laughed at by Pakatan reps.

Despite the adjournment, the elected reps remain in the House.

12.50pm: Umno Youth's Saiful Adli files a police report against Sivakumar for ordering Zambry and others out of the House. He says this is in contempt of court.

11.48am: Pakatan elected representatives told Malaysiakini that their seating arrangements were changed before they entered the house this morning - moving their places from the right of the speaker to the left.

However since they arrived into the house much earlier than the BN reps, they just made the necessary changes to sit in their original places at the right of the speaker.

By convention, the ruling party sits in the right of the speaker.

11.37am: A ceasefire seems to be in place. Pakatan reps are still in discussion with Mohammad Nizar while the BN reps are glued to their seats, worried that Sivakumar would start the sitting if they leave the house.

11.34am: Sivakumar is questioning the legality of the decisions made by the BN side, including the decision to appoint a new speaker. He said that the assembly has not officially begun as the Perak regent has yet to declare the sitting open.

He said Raja Nazrin should give a royal speech first before the sitting officially starts.

11.30am: "As long as I am here, the other speaker (Ganesan) is haram," said Sivakumar while attempting to start the assembly sitting. His microphone is still turned off.

11.25am: Pakatan reps walk over to their ousted MB Mohammad Nizar to discuss their next strategy. The verbal salvos continue in the background.

11.23am: Sivakumar once again asks the 10 BN reps to leave the House. Failing which, he warns that he will not reconvene the sitting. But as far as BN reps are concerned, their speaker has adjourned the sitting. A shouting match erupts again.

11.21am: Amidst the pandemonium in the House, BN still manages to pass four motions. These include to remove Sivakumar as the speaker, to appoint Ganesan as the new speaker, to appoint new state committee members and to declare the tree assembly illegal.

11.20am: Zambry moves a motion to adjourn the sitting and the motion is passed. The new speaker announces that the sitting has been adjourned. Pakatan reps respond by shouting 'keluar'. But both sides return to their seats later while Sivakumar continues to occupy the speaker's seat. The House is calm again. The regent of Perak has yet to deliver the royal address.

11.13am: BN representatives seem to have the upper hand in the house now with new speaker Ganesan controlling the proceedings. His microphone is the only one working. With Ganesan chairing the proceedings, BN is now moving a motion to appoint members of various state committees.

They are also moving a motion to declare that the tree-assembly held on March 3 was illegal. In that sitting, a motion moved by the Pakatan representatives to dissolve the assembly was passed. BN reps did not attend that sitting.

11.05am: Deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong, who is now a BN-friendly independent, announces that she has taken over from Sivakumar. Standing behind a cordon of BN state reps, she orders the sergeant-at-arms to expel Sivakumar. However, no action is taken by the sergeant-at-arms.

BN-appointed MB Zambry again reads out the motion to sack Sivakumar. All BN state reps raise their hands in support. Zambry also moves the motion to appoint R Ganesan as the new speaker. This is again backed by BN reps and the three BN-friendly Independents.

Ganesan walks into the assembly hall to accept the speaker’s gown. He is quickly sworn in among the turmoil, and signs the appointment document at the BN side of the assembly.

Sivakumar, who is still occupying the speaker’s seat, keeps shouting, “Speaker ini haram” (He is an illegal speaker), referring to Ganesan.

Ganesan conducts the assembly meeting from the floor among the BN state reps. Zambry tries to move other motions to change a number of key posts.

10.35am: Perak assembly still at a stand-off. Sivakumar keeps repeating that BN MB Zambry’s motion to sack him as speaker is “null and void” and orders the sergeant-at-arms to expel the 10 state assemblypersons. However, the sergeant-at-arms refuse to abide to the speaker’s instruction.

A group of state reps from both sides surround Zambry as the shouting match continues. Assembly state secretary Abdullah Antung tries to talk to the speaker, but he is ignored by Sivakumar.

Zambry maintains that the speaker has now been sacked as BN controls the majority in the assembly.

10.25am: Contrary to the chaos inside the assembly, the situation outside the state secretariat is much calmer with the police successfully dispersing the crowd.

The police have widened the no-go cordon, as a result the coffees shops are deserted.

Earlier the police ordered all those having drinks in the restaurants to leave immediately. Many left without paying for their drinks. Two refused to budge and were arrested.

10.20am: The impasse between speaker V Sivakumar and BN state reps continues. The speaker refuses to begin proceedings unless the seven suspended reps and three BN-friendly independents leave the hall.

Assembly secretary Abdullah Antung tries to take his seat in front of the speaker. But about 10 Pakatan reps walk up to him and physically stop him from doing so. They instruct Antung not to interfere with assembly business as he is a civil servant.

Both sides then engage in a free-for-all shouting match. Pakatan reps are also seen trying to prevent BN MB Zambry from speaking.

Zambry moves motion to sack the speaker. Sivakumar rejects the motion. The assembly plunges into chaos.

Raja Nazrin, who is to officially open the assembly, is waiting in a VIP room.

10.19am: Two more politicians have been arrested by the police for breaching the injunction against gathering at the state secretariat - Sungai Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar (PSM) and PAS' MP for Parit Buntar Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Also arrested was Malaysiakini columnist and activist Helen Ang.

10.05am: The speaker said his suspension of Zambry and his six exco members was made in his capacity as the chairperson of the privileges and the special rights committee and not as the speaker.

He said the Federal Court decision was based on his standing as a speaker and as such the matter was inapplicable.

He also asked the three BN-friendly independents to leave the assembly as his legal suit against the three was still pending in court.

His order for the 10 to leave the assembly was greeted by cheers and table-clapping by the Pakatan representatives. They shouted ‘keluar' (out) repeatedly.

However the 10 elected representatives are still in the house. A shouting match between the two sides is presently underway.

Nizar is seated in the right side of the speaker - the place allocated for the ruling party while Zambry is on the left.

9.55am: The action has now moved inside the state assembly. House speaker V Sivakumar, after immediately taking his seat, asks the seven suspended BN state reps including BN appointed MB Zambry to leave the hall.

He says he won’t begin the assembly sitting until they are out of the hall. According to Sivakumar, he has the power to do so. Pakatan state reps thump their table in support.

PAS Youth chief and MP for Kubang Kerian Salahuddin Ayub is arrested near the 'democracy tree' behind the state secretariat building.

Pakatan supporters, estimated at around 200, are scattered in various places near the state assembly building. There is no crowd at the gate of the building. The compound is barricaded by about 200 police.

Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah arrives. He inspects the guards of honour. Unlike the cold reception given to BN MB Zambry, all Pakatan state reps raise to their feet to welcome Raja Nazrin.

He was greeted by Zambry, assembly speaker Sivakumar and deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong (who defected from DAP to become a BN-friendly Independent rep).

BN Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir arrives to inspect the guards of honour. He shakes hand with assembly speaker V Sivakumar. Only BN state reps stand up to welcome Zambry. Pakatan state reps however snub him by remaining seated.

All 59 state reps seated outside the state secretariat building where the opening ceremony will be held. They are waiting for the arrival of Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah.

BN appointed state cabinet members could be seen wearing ‘exco’ (executive councillor) tags while Pakatan reps, including ousted MB Nizar, were wearing ‘Adun’ (state representative) tags.

9.15am: The police have moved in to arrest people gathered at the restaurant, including people having their breakfast. Many people have been arrested. Exact number of those arrested is uncertain.

The police first allowed those having their breakfast to do so but then soon changed their mind and started arresting them as well.

One man who was having tea lashed out at the police for their actions. He was allowed to have his tea and then was arrested.

The restaurant has decided to close its shutters for the day.

The police are issuing warning to people who have gathered near the state secretariat, asking them to disperse by reminding them of the ban against gathering.

People having breakfast in a nearby restaurant are also being told to get away. Fresh arrests are expected.

9.09am: The crowd which had gathered at the Umno headquarters has started to disperse. Umno Youth exco member Lokman Adam told reporters that their members were now free to do their own work.

"We gathered to show support this morning and now that the assembly is about to start, we have decided to disperse.

"We are not like the Pakatan crowd who want to protest at the state secretariat despite a police ban," he said.

9.01am: The 11 people who have been arrested are herded into a police lorry inside the state secretary compound. They include one MP and three state assemblypersons - Ampang MPZuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Selangor), Ayer Keroh state repKhoo Poay Tiong (DAP-Malacca), Teratai state repJenice Lee (DAP-Selangor) and Bahau state rep Tey Kok Seong (DAP-Negri Sembilan).

The police lorry leaves the compound with those inside shouting “1BlackMalaysia”, “Dissolve the assembly” and “Reformasi”.

All elected representatives are getting ready for the official ceremony to start. The regent is expected to arrive at any time.

8.59am: DAP's Ipoh Timor member of parliament Lim Kit Siang, under whose area the state secretariat is located, is turned away from the building.

Also with Lim are DAP's MPs for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran and Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran. The three MPs had official invitations to attend the sitting from assembly speaker.

In an ensuing shouting match with the police, Kulasegaran's aide was arrested.

8.50am: More arrests by the police. This time four people, including a Pakatan elected representative from Negeri Sembilan and Teratai state representative Jenice Lee (centre in photo), were arrested while having breakfast in a mamak stall.

Batu MP Tian Chua, who has donned a black suit, arrived at the state secretariat compound. He was in Tai Sing Ng (Perak’s Kuala Sepetang rep) car. While Tai was allowed into the building, Chua was told to stay outside the ‘500m exclusion zone’. Chua left the area in another car.

So far, eight have been arrested, including Ampang MP Zuraida (PKR-Selangor), Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo (DAP-Malacca) and her aide.

8.45am: Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who wanted to give a press conference outside the state secretariat building, was arrested by the police. She resisted, resulting in a slight scuffle. Police officers forcibly subdued her and put handcuffs on the parliamentarian.

“Why do you handcuff me?” she shouted at the police. The Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo Poay Tiong from Malacca, who was arrested minutes earlier, was also handcuffed.

A group of Umno/BN supporters numbering about 100 have started to gather at the Umno headquarters since morning. A spokesperson said they will be at the building until the official opening of the state assembly sitting. The crowd is carrying banners and placards. Some police officers are on standby.

8.37am: The police have totally cordoned off the road behind the state secretariat with barbed wires. A copy of an injunction obtained yesterday to bar people from gathering has been pasted on the ‘democracy tree'.

Ousted menteri besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and Pakatan reps enter the state secretariat building. All their bodyguards are stopped at the gate. Only their drivers can go through the entrance.

8.30am: All Barisan Nasional elected representatives arrived at the state secretariat in one bus. Their arrival is greeted by a small group of demonstrators wearing black. The demonstrators are located outside the state secretariat.

The police have moved in to stop the demonstration by arresting three people. Among those arrested are DAP's Ayer Keroh elected representative Khoo Poay Tiong.

8.15am: Security is tight at the Perak state secretariat building in Ipoh, where the controversial legislative assembly meeting is to be held. About 100 police and FRU personnel have been deployed in the area. Five FRU (riot police) trucks are at the back entrance of the building complex.

The assembly hall will be opened at 9am. There will be a guard of honour by crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, who is expected to represent the Perak sultan. Journalists will be allowed into the hall at 9.45am.

The assembly will officially be opened by Raja Nazrin, who will give his address to the 59 assemblypersons.

8:05am: The 28 Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons leave for the Perak state secretariat building in a convoy from the Grand View Hotel in Ipoh. They were accompanied by assembly speaker V Sivakumar and police escorts complete with outriders. The hotel is about 600m from the state secretariat building.

Earlier this morning, the state representatives had breakfast together at a mamak stall near the hotel. There are about 50 Pakatan supporters milling around the area - all wearing black. They are being watched by an equal number of police.

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