Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pathetic Police Play Politics in Perak - Martin Jalleh

I was in Ipoh last week on business and checked in at the Casuarina Impiana Hotel. Just as I was about to press the lift button to go to my floor, two persons rushed into the lift. Hey, what do you know? It was that Jelapang Hii and a male companion. The lift door closed and there we were, just the four of us - me, my associate, Hii and her partner. I was looking at her and all she could do was either looked down or looked away from me. It happened again on Tuesday morning when she checked out of the hotel. Talking about coincidences!! Anyway, it is worth the while to read what Martin Jalleh has written on the Perak crisis. Darn it, why can't the Sultan just dissolve the assembly and be done with it, and probably have peaceful sleeps after that instead of the nightmares he has to put up with.

Bolehland continues to boast of the world’s one and only State with two Chief Ministers (Menteris Besar), two Speakers, two State Governments and two State Assemblies conducted simultaneously under one roof.

The Prime Minister’s slogan of 1 Malaysia is beginning to bear much fruit as the Government, Police, Judiciary and Election Commission bond and blend together as one to bury any political dissent and opposition.

The doctrine of the separation of powers is blighted by the usurpation of power by the PM and those willing to do his bidding. There are no longer any boundaries or checks and balances – only cheques waiting for those who bow in subservience to the political elite.

The only “boundaries” left are those separating the government from the people – barricades, blockades, barriers and barbed wires like those put up by the police at the Perak State Assembly building recently. Be prepared for more barbaric times.

It has become standard police practice to brandish a blanket court injunction a day or two before every Perak state legislative assembly sitting, thereby barring the people from their very own public arena or forum so that the police can do what the PM and Umno likes.

Beholden & Blind

On the black day of May 7 this year, the police had barged into the Perak State Assembly, forcibly dragged out the Speaker, and detained him for about 90 minutes.

Even a Umno leader, disgusted by what he saw, described the brutal act as “high-handedness at its foulest”.

Never before had Bolehland seen such a blatant aggressive invasion and intrusion by the police into the august chambers of a State Assembly – the highest and most sacred institution in a democracy, one which is out of bounds to even the police!

The footage of the Perak Speaker being manhandled and bundled off and the arrests of 60 opposition MPs and state representatives outside the State Assembly badly blunted the image of the Government. They were banned from being aired on all TV stations and even at a DAP dinner!.

Through the new media however, footage of the police’s public notoriety was beamed across the globe. But the police were not at all bothered by the rakyat’s perception! They were back again with their brute force before the state budget assembly sitting on Oct 28.

The Police blindly and zealously enforced the “Emergency Rule(s)” of the fraudulent BN Speaker. Obviously beholden to the powers that be, they treated the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen like a bunch of criminals or enemies of the State.

The state assembly building bristled with about 400 men in blue armed with the latest gear, guns and gadgets. It looked like a battlefield. The headline of a Malaysiakini article so rightly read: “BN Perak took counter-terrorism-like measures”.

Bullies in Blue

The PR assemblymen later related how they were harassed, huddled, hindered, hampered and some even hammered by the bullies in blue as they “hurdled” through three barriers and two checkpoints (!), whilst a helicopter hovered above!

As though that was not bad enough, the Police, bent on humiliating the PR lawmakers, subjected them to a body search and a metal scan and forcibly removed their hand phones, lap-tops, cameras, video equipment, etc., before they entered the hall.

Once again Speaker Sivakumar had to bear the brunt of the police brutality. According to him, the police, in order to keep the media out of sight and to strip the official speaker's robe off him, had planned to trap him in the basement parking lot of the State Secretariat (Malaysiakini).

(One day before the assembly sitting, the Malaysian Insider sighted notices tacked on all notice boards in the state secretariat informing the staff to keep the basement parking lot empty “to ensure the assembly proceedings ran smoothly”!)

As the PR assemblymen entered the parking lot, a horde of policemen pounced on the Speaker. He was jostled roughly, pulled in all directions, strangled with an arm lock to a point that he could not breathe and had his robe ripped off him (Malaysian Insider). Those who went to his aid were also roughed up.

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai said he was pushed to the ground and dragged by his hands on the cement floor when he tried to save Sivakumar. In his attempt to recover the Speaker’s robe he was grabbed and slammed onto the bonnet of a car (Malaysia Insider).

There were even installed video cameras transmitting live the activities of PR assemblymen to the state police headquarters and the national headquarters at Bukit Aman! (Malaysiakini) Will Bukit Aman also spy and intrude into the affairs of Parliament one day? Is it already happening?

Bull & Buffoons

In sharp contrast to the drastic and extreme measures that the PR assemblymen were subjected to, the BN assemblymen breezed through to the assembly hall. At least one of the BN assemblymen was seen using his laptop. The bogus (BN) Speaker Ganesan was protected by a wall of 22 new sergeants-at-arms! Indeed, Umno’s interests were well-protected!

The BN-installed MB Zambry brushed aside the accusations of police assault and harassment by Sivakumar and some of the PR assemblymen. He branded them “drama queens” and claimed that they “just want to dramatise everything, to create a big show …”

Perak Chief Police Officer Zulkifli Abdullah bellowed almost the same lines. No extreme force was used on Sivakumar and other PR assemblymen at the parking lot. There was no conspiracy to attack the Speaker and representatives away from media scrutiny.

When asked why the police had not attempted to confiscate the robe from the beginning, when the PR representatives were outside of the secretariat building and the media were still present, Zulkifli blarred and bulled:

“That is our job. When we choose to do things, and when we decide to do, it cannot be questioned. We cannot reveal our practice. You should know better. I cannot reveal when and how we want to do things.”

Zulkifli added that those PR assemblymen claiming they were attacked wrongfully could lodge reports at the police station: “If reports are lodged, we will conduct the necessary investigations” (Malaysian Insider). The Police will investigate the Police?

Little did Zambry and Zulkifli know that someone had zoomed in on the “inappropriate police action”. Pictures of what they had earlier denied were splashed in the Chinese newspapers. Malaysiakini produced online a video clip showing “Pakatan Aduns, blocked, pushed and shoved ...”!

Is it any surprise that “Dr Zambry was unflappable and his team behaved with utmost decorum” (Joceline Tan, Star) in the State Assembly hall? Outside, their lapdogs in blue had done the dirty and disgraceful job of harassing and humiliating the PR Aduns.

Zambry had accused PR of creating “a big show”. Surely no one can beat Umno’s drama of “1 Malaysia, 2 Peraks and 3 Kataks! What about Zambry’s big show of police power and brute force? Was it really necessary?

The Malaysian Insider provides a brilliant and related answer: “Only those who take power illegally would go to such lengths to shore up their legitimacy to rule a state. The last time this was done was when the British locked down Northern Ireland while fighting off the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Yes, Ipoh now shares something in common with Belfast. Doesn't make it right, though.”

The bare truth that remains is that what happened to Speaker Sivakumar and the PR assemblymen on Oct 28 is yet another example of the Police’s increasing use of the name of public order and security to protect the political security of Umno and to carry out its orders.

What the public saw on Oct 28 was in reality a bulldozed budget, the continued blatant betrayal of the wishes of the majority of the people of Perak, the most bizarre protection given to a bogus Speaker, the bloated ego of a fraudulent MB and the blind and biased subservience of the police to its political masters.

There was, of course, the people’s MB and Speaker and their colleagues who were bold enough to continue to stand up and refuse to buckle under to Umno’s shameless display of belligerence, brazen high-handedness and unbridled arrogance of power.

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