Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zambry flexes BN muscles with Perak assembly

Today’s Perak assembly sitting was anything but comfortable for the 28 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, according to DAP Socialist Youth chief Nga Kor Ming.
He said the media was barred from entering the state assembly – only government-owned Bernama was allowed in – and some 200 to 300 police personnel hovered the area, a stark reminder of a similar incident in May last year.

“We from the Pakatan side would like to maintain law and order, but unfortunately, the Barisan National side was trying to turn it into a war zone.”

Before the opening ceremony at the state secretariat building this morning, Speaker R Ganesan had issued a directive to the Pakatan representatives to enter the assembly using a separate lift.

Former menteri besar Nizar Jamaluddin said all state assemblymen received a letter from Ganesan last week instructing BN assemblymen to enter the House first, using lift number three at 10.15am, while Pakatan representatives were told to enter, using lift number six.

“This was the first discrimination against the PR state assemblymen.

“Even during the sitting, the BN representatives were free to go in and out of the assembly, but the PR representatives were restricted.

“When the sitting continues tomorrow, we will try to expose BN scandals (what happened today) when we have the opportunity. This was a shameful incident of BN under Zambry Abdul Kadir’s administration,” Nga told FMT.

He hoped the sitting, which resumes tomorrow, will go on smoothly.

“I hope we will have the liberty to speak, and I hope BN will not use violence against us, like what happened on May 7 last year.”

He was referring to the incident when deposed Perak assembly speaker V Sivakumar was forcefully dragged out of the state assembly by police personnel after he had taken his seat at the speaker’s dais.

The Pakatan reps have also slammed Ganesan for rejecting 216 questions submitted by them for debate at the assembly sitting.

“If Ganesan rejects us again, it shows that he is not fit for his job. He should step down and let Sivakumar take over his place,” he said.

Asked whether the Pakatan reps are going to walk out from the assembly and call for a separate sitting if they are rejected tomorrow, Nga said that they will “wait and see tomorrow”.

A clear case of intrusion

Perak DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham also lamented the show of force by police personnel.

“Perak has become a police state, where police dictate what routes assemblymen from Pakatan are to take to enter the hall — and that only after we had protested to be allowed to enter the assembly hall. It is a real shame.

"The media, too, haven't been spared. They were pushed into the gallery and the microphones were only switched on when Barisan Nasional representatives were speaking but switched off when we were speaking. It's all controlled,” said the Sitiawan assemblyman.

In what Ngeh described as a “clear case of intrusion into democratic instutions”, police were present inside the assembly hall even though they were not supposed to be inside.

"It was like being in Myanmar... when in fact the assembly should be a neutral place free from any form of threats," he said.

On the 216 questions submitted by the Opposition to the state secretariat for discussion in the assembly, Ngeh said Ganesan had indicated that he will only take questiosn from seven people who had sent their questions via e-mail.

The state administration had allocated only one day for the question-and-answer session. The opposition had requested for at least five days.

Ngeh said an invitation was sent to Ganesan to meet yesterday and discuss the sitting of the assembly as his status as Speaker of the State Assembly was still disputed.

“We wanted to suggest to Ganesan that he become a moderator of the state assembly rather than take the position of Speaker, but he did not entertain our invitation,” he said.

by FMT

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