Media Statement by Ngeh Koo Ham in Ipoh on Friday, 6th August 2010:
Perak State Assembly destroyed by BN
Dato' R. Ganesan, the chairperson of the Perak State Assembly sitting on 3/8/2010 acted against the fundamental purpose of a legislative assembly and breached the legislative assembly convention when he ordered Dato' Seri Nizar Bin Jamaluddin out of the State Assembly. Dato' Seri Zambry, BN Perak Menteri Besar does not want the State Assembly to function properly.
The media were not aware of the events in the Perak State Assembly before Dato' Seri Nizar Bin Jamaluddin, as opposition leader stood up to speak during the 3/8/2010 sitting. This is because they were not allowed into the State Assembly (except the pro BN media) and were placed in a glass enclosed area where they cannot hear the proceedings unless BN appointed technicians turn on the microphone in the State Assembly.
Dato' R. Ganesan had ruled that Dato' Seri Nizar as opposition leader be given 15 minutes to speak and the other elected representatives be given only 10 minutes to speak. He also ruled that the sitting will only be for one day. This has sparked protest and objection from Dato' Seri Nizar and PR elected representatives as this ruling make a mockery of the legislative assembly. The microphones were switch off so that the media cannot hear the protests and the hansard will not record the request by the PR elected representatives to have at least 4 to 5 days' sitting.
The fundamental purpose of a legislative assembly is to allow elected representatives total freedom to speak before any enactment or bill is passed. The elected representatives are also expected to bring out all issues that affect their constituents. This is the place where elected representatives are expected to speak their minds. Laws have even been passed to protect elected representatives from being sued so that they are free to speak. Dato' Ganesan's rulings go against the fundamental purpose of the legislative assembly.
By convention, the Perak State Assembly does not limit the time an opposition leader can address the house. The only limitation the State Assembly imposed is that the speech of the elected representatives must be relevant and relate to the State of Perak.
In 2004 when I was the opposition leader, Dato' Seri DiRaja Tajol Rosli of Barisan Nasional who was then the Perak Menteri Besar allowed me to speak as long as I like and my speech normally takes about 3 hours to cover the various issues affecting the people and the State of Perak.
In 2008, when Pakatan Rakyat was in government with Dato' Seri Nizar Bin Jamaluddin as Menteri Besar we also did not limit the time Dato' Seri Tajol Rosli who was then the opposition leader to speak and he took about two and a half hours to deliver his speech.
It is the duty of Dato' Seri Nizar and Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives to protest and object to the ruling by Dato' R. Ganesan to limit speeches to 10-15 minutes which is ridiculous.
The Pakatan Rakyat representatives would have failed in their duty if they allow this ruling to stand as the people who elected them expect them to discuss and debate all issues affecting the people.
Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives have submitted more than 200 questions for the BN Government to answer. The one and a half hours allocated for Question and Answer session per day of sitting normally see only about 10 questions being answered. It is the intention of the BN Government not to answer the questions submitted by PR elected representatives.
The BN Menteri Besar, Dato' Seri Zambry and his Exco must be willing to be questioned like the Prime Minister and his cabinet in Parliament. If they do not want to be accountable to the people, then they should resign honourably. They cannot be allowed to take high pay and enjoy all the perks which are paid by the people and yet not be accountable to the people.
The 3/8/2010 sitting clearly show that Dato' Seri Zambry, the Menteri Besar together with his Exco who were rejected by the people but gain power through despicable means and assisted by the court do not actually want the State Assembly to function.
The majority of the people who do not trust Dato' Seri Zambry and his Exco have been proven right as Zambry and his Exco do not want an open debate which will expose them.
To the small group of the people who have asked us to give BN a chance to operate, the events on 3/8/2010 sitting and the earlier sittings clearly show that BN Perak does not want the Perak State Assembly to operate.
* Ngeh Koo Ham, DAP Deputy Secretary General & MP for Beruas