Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 1st March 2009:
Najib’s unethical and unconstitutional power grab in Perak may sow the seeds for his downfall as the sixth Prime Minister
As the Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak cannot be so ignorant as not to know that his statement that there could not be any Perak State Assembly meeting until the courts decide on the status of the state government is completely untenable, as it has no basis in law or constitutional practice.
The question is whether Najib is making this statement as Deputy Prime Minister after getting the proper advice of the Attorney-General’s Chambers or as UMNO Deputy President without the benefit of any proper expert legal opinion.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had acted most improperly when he had earlier advised the “pretender” Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr. Zambry Abd Kadir to lodge police report against the Perak State Assembly Speaker, V. Sivakumar for suspending Zambry and the other six “pretender” state exco members from the state assembly, which also attracted the criticism of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, when the Speaker’s decision or action is protected by law and conferred immunity from civil or criminal proceedings.
Clearly, Abdulllah’s advice could not have emanated from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
But it has resulted in gross abuses of power by the Police as well as by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in subjecting the Perak State Assembly Speaker to interrogation, which are gross violation of established world-wide parliamentary laws, practices ,conventions and traditions.
Najib’s statement that the Perak State Assembly cannot meet until the courts have decided on the status of the Perak state government is another example of a federal government position unsupported by law and made without reference or consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
One is reminded of the increasing calls by more and more Cabinet Ministers for DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh to be charged under the Sedition Act 1948 when Karpal had merely stated the legal position that Rulers can be taken to court in their official capacities and, after the UMNO-initiated 1994 Constitution Amendment, also in their personal capacities in a Special Court.
Cabinet Ministers, particularly those with legal background, know that Karpal had committed no offence under the law, let alone the Sedition Act, when he stated the simple legal position – but yet we have Cabinet Ministers publicly pressurising the Attorney-General to prosecute Karpal under the Sedition Act with the threat to challenge his credibility and fitness to hold office if there is no such prosecution.
The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister should know that Karpal had not violated the law, let alone the Sedition Act, but why are they adopting a “hands-off” stance in the face of increasing pressures by UMNO leaders including UMNO Ministers to subvert the constitutional process to reduce the Attorney-General for Malaysia into an UMNO Attorney-General serving UMNO interests rather than upholding the Constitution?
With the daily countdown of his ascension as the sixth Prime Minister, this is the time for Najib to show that will be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians and be the national “unifier” to rally Malaysians regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or region to unite as one people to face the world’s worst economic crisis in 80 years.
But Najib has done the opposite – emerging as the most divisive national leader in the country.
Najib should be forewarned that his unethical and unconstitutional power grab in Perak may sow the seeds for his downfall as the sixth Prime Minister because of public revulsion not only in Perak but throughout the country.
It is not too late for Najib to undo the damage he has done to himself, Umno, Barisan Nasional and national unity with his unethical and unconstitutional power grab in Perak – by allowing the people of Perak through a new state general election to elect the state government of their choice.
Najib should not compound his political mistakes and miscalculations and should allow the emergency sitting of the Perak State Assembly on Tuesday to be held as convened by the Perak Speaker.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor