Archive for the 'Malaysian Politics' Category

The scourge of money politics?

Folks, please don’t get me wrong. I am not here to worship the virtues of money politics but rather to bring this much ostracised subject on the table for further deliberation as to its importance or otherwise in a political organisation and whether or not it is time that Parliament should legislate to partly legitimise to a certain extent the use of political funds as per practiced in America.

As of now, it is an offence for any election candidate be it in a political party election, a by-election or for that matter the general election as the case may be to use money to canvass for political support. In a party election, it is regulated by the Disciplinary Committee purportedly empowered under its constitution whilst in either a by-election or a general election, it is regulated by the Election Laws specifically under  section 10 (Bribery) and sections 19 (maximum expenditure) and 20 ( certain expenditure to illegal practice) of Election Offences Act, 1954.

In a party election,  a very glaring example of the might of the Disciplinary Committee is the three year suspension of a former vice-president of UMNO, YB Tan Sri Isa Samad of Negri Sembilan who was found guilty of indulging in money politics and the prohibition of an UMNO Vice-President and current Malacca Chief Minister, YB Datuk Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam from contesting the UMNO Deputy President post in the last party election. 

However, in both cases, there was no follow-up action taken by the MACC to further investigate and bring these very prominent UMNO politicans to book as it is now said that a political offence i.e  indulging in money politics is merely a technicallity. However, a technical offence or not, the victim of such an offence would be forever traumatised and very often than not, becomes a political liability to his political organisation unless of course, if he is Tan Sri Isa Samad. 

It is of course incumbent upon UMNO to show the good example to its fellow component parties in Barisan Nasional.   And its component members, whether big or small, prominent or negligible, one has to emulate the big brother in so far as taking action against indulgers of money politics in its respective organisation.

However, the perennial question is to what extent the maxim of procedural fairness in bringing the alleged politician to book before the Disciplinary Committee has been adequately complied with?  and whether or not certain aspect of the definition of fair campaigning and the expenditures involved have been adequately addressed by the Committee before a decision is handed down or meted out to the alleged politician? 

In a small component political party in Barisan Nasional for example, the maxim of procedural fairness has to be strictly adhered to especially so when the said party is trying its level best to portray its image as being multi-racial and all.  When I say to adequately adhere the practice of procedural fairness, it means the party has to follow an established practice that is indeed being widely accepted as fair by political parties in the United Kingdom for the greater good of the party concerned.

What is an established practice is not subjective but rather very objective and specific that should be followed barring any political complication on the face of the party concerned. For example, if a party member has lodged a complaint against an aspirant for a political post in a party election to the Disciplinary Committee, it must first take cognisance of the following factors:-

(1)  the time when the complaint is lodged. Is it inordinate?  Meaning has it been lodged after the time provided for lodgment of complaint and therefore, time-barred?;

(2) if the complaint lodged is within the time frame allowed aforesaid, How soon can the Disciplinary Committee convene to deliberate on the complaint  for the purpose of appointment of  its officers to do preliminary investigation;

(3) after preliminary investigation wherein the complainant and relevant witnesses are called to give their statments, the member being complained against must be informed and required to appear before the said Committee to enable it to hear his or her part of the story;

(4) when both parties have been given the opportunity to give statments, the said Committee will have to deliberate the evidences presented before them and if they feel that there is a case for the said member to answer, only then would they have to call him or her to answer the charges; and

(5) In the event that the said member failed to present himself or failed to rebut the charges preferred against him or her by the said Committee, then the proper penalty shall be meted out  after his or her mitigation (if any) has been adequately considered.

All the above must be strictly adhered to lest we will be perceived as being merely witch hunting or arbitrarily taking the law into our own hands.

Cheers!

Court of Appeal rules Zambry is Perak MB

The rightful MB of Perak Datuk Dr. Zambry (courtesy of NST @ 22 Mei 2009)

The rightful MB of Perak Datuk Dr. Zambry (courtesy of NST @ 22 Mei 2009)

As I have opined in my last post on the Perak crisis, the Court of Appeal today unanimously rules that HRH the Sultan of Perak had legally and rightfully done what he did in appointing Datuk Dr. Zambry as the MB of Perak and by refusing to dissolve the Perak State Legislative Assembly when sought by Ex MB Datuk Mohd Nizar to do so as he believed then that the latter had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the Assembly.

Below is the report published By LISA GOH and YENG AI CHUN courtesy of the STAR ONLINE late this evening:-

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has unanimously ruled that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir is the valid mentri besar of Perak.

The three-man bench, in setting aside the High Court’s decision earlier which ruled that Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin was the rightful mentri besar “at all material times,” held that Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the Perak State Legislative Assembly.

“The learned High Court judge erred in his interpretation of the relevant provisions in the Perak Constitution.

“Accordingly, the appeal is allowed,” said Justice Md Raus Shariff, who chaired the bench, which also comprised Justices Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop.

The court held that based on the facts of the case, Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah was right in making enquiries to satisfy himself on who held majority in the state assembly, and was right in his appointment of Zambry.

It further ruled that there was no express requirement in the Perak Constitution that there had to be a motion of no-confidence passed before it was determined that Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the assemblymen.

“The fact that the respondent (Nizar) had ceased to command the confidence can be obtained through other means,” he said.

Justice Md Raus delivered the judgement in less than 10 minutes, and said that the written judgement would be prepared in about a week.

Based on the facts of the case, the court found that Nizar’s request for dissolution was made under Article 16(6), and not Article 36(2) of the Perak Constitution.

Article 36(2) is a general provision for which a request for dissolution can be made when the five-year term of the assembly is drawing to an end.

Article 16(6), on the other hand, states that if the mentri besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the legislative assembly members then, unless at his request the Ruler dissolves the legislative assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the executive council.

The bench also affirmed the court’s decision in the case of former Sabah cabinet minister Datuk Amir Kahar Mustapha who refused to resign in 1995 after the then Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan had quit.

Cheers!

5:3:2 Distribution of Sabah Cabinet seats…

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What does it really mean for the non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah in so far as the long established convention of 5:3:2 distribution of cabinet seats between the Muslim bumiputera, non-muslim bumiputera and the chinese is concerned? Does it really matter?

Folks, it does not really matter if one had to listen to from none other than the PBS President cum the 1st Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development, Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan who happens to be the Huguan Siou of the KadazanDusun in Sabah the majority of whom are non-muslim bumiputera. He was on record to say and I repeat it in verbatim ” the non-Muslim bumiputera quota in the State Cabinet can be changed at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

He said the matter had always been debatable but at the same time urged the people not to make it into a big issue. He said as much as he would like to have a more stable quota, the decision to have as many or as few non-Muslim bumiputeras in the State Cabinet remains at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

“Five, four, three or whatever the formula, has always been a debatable issue. I do not think we ought to be too stuck or too stiff about this kind of thing.

“We would like to have a stable quota but at the same time we must understand that this is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. It is up to him (Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman) to make the necessary adjustment or make the necessary appointments…”

“He, or anybody who is the Chief Minister, will always have to take into account the aspirations or the expectations of all component political parties. Whatever decision he made is his prerogative. I am confident it was done in the best interest of the BN Government and to ensure all government programmes would run smoothly.”

I beg to differ though. Personally, I am not quite convinced that the majority of non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah are receptive to the idea that as long as the present BN government could fulfill its obligations and covenants to uplift the socio-economic status of the non-muslim bumiputera, the question of missed opportunity on effecting a fair distribution of cabinet seats in Sabah as highlighted by the PBRS Information Chief, Rayner Francis Udong recently could no longer be relevant.

For the record, the said 5:3:2 ratio was a formula practiced by convention when the BN took over the state government in 1994 whereby 5 is meant for 5 ministerial posts allocated to the muslim bumiputera, 3 posts to the non-muslim bumiputera while the last 2 posts are for the Chinese representatives in the State Legislative Assembly.

However, as I see it, at present, the Sabah cabinet seat distribution is made along the lines of BN component parties’ strength in the State Legislative Assembly. After the last state general election in 2008, UMNO won 32 seats, PBS won 12 seats, SAPP won 4 seats, LDP won 3 states, UPKO won 6 seats, MCA and PBRS won 1 seat each. Hence, Prior to the departure of SAPP from BN, the state cabinet was composed of 6 for UMNO, 2 for PBS, 1 each for UPKO, SAPP and LDP respectively.

The seat quota remains unchanged even after Datuk Raymond Tan, the sole SAPP representative in the cabinet chose to stick with BN when SAPP left BN last year where he was retained as a cabinet member while being a pro-BN Independent for almost 9 months.

Folks, now that Datuk Raymond Tan has joined Gerakan, a Peninsular Malaysia based multiracial party, the status quo remains unchanged. In fact, he was rewarded for his unquestionable loyalty to BN by being retained as a cabinet member minus his Deputy Chief Ministership though. However, the gist of the matter is that, the current composition of the state cabinet is all about one’s political strength in the state BN rather than racial and / or religiously based.

To me, the current arrangement is rather flawed despite BN undeniable success in bringing progress in terms of socio and infra-structural development to the state. I am saying this on the fact that a particular community could be under represented in the powerful decision making body despite it being the majority group in the state.

Analytically, it is a very simple arithmetic, take for example, PBS, the multiracial but KadazanDusun Murut based party. Logically, being a strongly KDM based party, there should be more than one KDM ministers representing the party apart from a chinese minister in the person of Datuk Yee Moh Chai to reflect its ideal political equilibrium in the state cabinet so that when seen in totality, there should be a sense of equitable fairness among the major races in the state.

Be as it may, what more could they ask for if such prerogative power is used to hypothetically appoint cabinet members along such lines as 6 for UMNO (Muslim Bumiputera), 2 for PBS (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 for UPKO (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 each for PBS (Chinese) and LDP (Chinese), Hence, the ratio should be 6:3:2 so that it is to be more or less reflective of the previously accepted convention.

As for Gerakan (a chinese-based multiracial party), it would be, in fairness to PBRS and MCA, politically prudent to appoint its 2 representatives as Assistant Ministers in the state cabinet.

However, it is of course, very important to remember that it is the CM’s sole prerogative to appoint his cabinet members whom he thinks are capable of helping him in the administratioin of the state and lest we forget that if the present cabinet is workable and is the best one we have ever had to assist the YAB Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman to achieving his well-documented Halatuju for the state, we should support him and his BN administration wholeheartedly regardless of our previous reservation.

Cheers!

Sabah witness a minor cabinet reshuffle

Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Musa Aman

Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Musa Aman

The Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj. Aman effected a minor reshuffle to his cabinet late this afternoon by promoting LDP Vice President cum Minister of Youth and Sports to the much talked post of Deputy Chief Minister while the incumbent, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, a newly minted GERAKAN Vice President, retained his cabinet post but was moved to the Ministry of Industrial Development.

The PBS President cum 1st Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Rural Development, YB Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan took over Datuk Raymond Tan’s previous portfolio of Minister of Infrastructure Development while UPKO Vice President, YB Datuk Ewon Ebin moved from the Ministry of Industrial Development to the Ministry of Rural Development.

Speculation that YB Au Kam Wah, the Elopura Assemblyman would be appointed as an Assistant Finance Minister to fill a vacancy left by the defection of YB Melanie Chia with SAPP to the opposition did not materialise. Instead, LDP Merotai state assemblyman, YB Pang Yuk Ming was promoted to Assistant Minister of infrastructure development, replacing PBS YB Datuk Michael Asang who was appointed as Assistant Minister of Industrial Development.

Meanwhile, UMNO YB Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid, the previous Assistant Minister of Industrial Development was moved to the Ministry of Resource Development and Information Technology as an Assistant Minister, taking over from UPKO YB Donald Peter Mojuntin who was appointed as the Assistant Minister of Finance.

The portfolios of the other Ministers and Assistant Ministers remain unchanged. (courtesy of BERNAMA)

Cheers!

Just in .. A stay of execution granted to Dr. Zambry

Datuk Dr. Zambry receiving a Datukship from HRH, the Sultan of Perak

Datuk Dr. Zambry receiving a Datukship from HRH, the Sultan of Perak

Folks, in case you all missed the news just now, here it is, the Court of Appeal, at 1.15pm. today granted Datuk Dr. Zambry’s application for a stay of execution of the High Court ruling yesterday which declared Datuk Seri Nizar as the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak pending the former’s appeal at the Court of Appeal.

In his ruling, Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Ramly Ali said he was satisfied that there were special circumstances to grant the stay as Datuk Dr. Zambry’s appeal would be rendered nugatory if the stay was not granted.

With this decision, Datuk Dr. Zambry returns as the Menteri Besar after being in a political limbo for about 21 hours. In an immediate response, He overturned all key BN policy reversions declared by Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin earlier this morning including lifting the suspension of the State Secretary and State Legal Adviser.

Cheers!

No end in sight of the Perak crisis ….

Datuk Seri Mohd. Nizar soon after being declared by the KL High Court as the legitimate MB of Perak (Picture posted by courtesy of the STAR online)

Datuk Seri Mohd. Nizar soon after being declared by the KL High Court as the legitimate MB of Perak (Picture posted by courtesy of the STAR online)

As a very concerned Malaysian, I can’t help but ponder on the latest twist of political fortunes befalling on the lap of Pakatan’s Datuk Seri Mohd. Nizar Jamaluddin, the “ex-MB” whose application for a declatory relief was granted by High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim who declared that he is still and was at all material times, the legitimate Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Perak on the ground of him having been unconstitutionally replaced by the HRH Sultan of Perak although he had at all material times, not vacated his post as Menteri Besar as he had not lost the majority confidence of the State Legislative Assembly whatsoever vide a vote of no confidence pursuant to section 16(6) of the Perak constitution.

In other words, Justice Abdul Aziz said that Nizar, once appointed Mentri Besar, was only answerable to the State Legislative Assembly and that based on democratic practice, the vote of no-confidence should be taken on the floor of the assembly and only that way, Nizar could be forced to resign.

On the other hand, since his oral application for a stay of execution was rejected by the said Court yesterday, I was made to understand that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir had already filed his appeal against the said ruling yesterday at about 9.20am this morning at the KL High Court Registry together with his formal application for stay of execution at the Court of Appeal to avert a potentially explosive political and administrative upheavel in Perak as proven by the swift action taken by Datuk Seri Nizar to suspend with immediate effect two very senior officers of the state administration namely, State Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid and State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim for a very obvious reason indeed. I reckon, although, Mohd Nizar justified it as being “not done out of revenge but was initiated in the interest of the people” . I am more than convinced that it was done out of spite and revenge for the way these two officers had acted previously.

The question is, would HRH the Sultan of Perak consent to Mohd. Nizar’s request to dissolve the Perak State Legislative Assembly now that the Court had reinstated the latter? In fact, with the said declatory relief granted to the latter, one cannot miss the point that by and large, the Court had expressly implied that there was something not right in so far as the Perak constitution is concerned in the way Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir was appointed as the new Perak MB to replace Datuk Seri Nizar on the 6th of February 2009.

Would HRH the Sultan of Perak dissolve the State Legislative Assembly to pave the way for a snap state election? or would he wait for the result of the two Appeals made by Datuk Dr. Zambry? It is afterall the Sultan’s sole prerogative as despite yesterday High Court’s decision, question still lingers on whether he had acted legally pursuant to the Perak constitution by way of a precedent case in Sabah which had ruled differently when the High Court then had adopted a decision handed down by the Privy Council in Africa which suggested that whether there was a lack of confidence against a Mentri Besar (or Chief Minister) need not have to be found on the floor of the Assembly.

In other words, the Ruler or for that matter, the TYT, could appoint a new MB or Chief Minister by virtue of the fact that upon thorough examination of the facts and evidences presented to him outside the Assembly, he is convinced that the former does no longer command the majority of the Assembly, could appoint a new MB or Chief Minister, whom he believes at that material times, commands the majority of the Assembly.

Hence, Folks, based on this alone, I tend to bet my money on this one and therefore, I honestly believe that HRH the Sultan of Perak had acted legally and had acted so within the ambit of the Perak Constitution. Therefore, I figure, he would not dissolve the Perak State Legislative Assembly as yet.

Cheers!

Is it a fair deal for PBRS?

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Folks, I am going to say it point blank. The new Malaysian Cabinet does not reflect very nicely on PBRS. Why is it so?

Although I should be thankful for the reappointment of the PBRS President, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup as a Deputy Minister by the new PM, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, I remain quite disappointed though, when he was moved from the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development which is considered to be as one of the most important Ministry in the country to the lowly regarded Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. At least, that is what the majority of Malaysians perceived it to be. A low ranking Ministry in the Federal Cabinet.

As such, I can’t help but consider this move as a demotion for the PBRS President. Am I alone having this perception? I don’t think so based on the various conversations I have had with some very influential politicans, businessmen and people on the streets.

And therefore, I can only deduce that PBRS had NOT indeed received a fair deal despite its well documented history of being part of the “catalyst” that led to the formation of a BN government in Sabah in 1994.

What’s your take on this, Folks?

Cheers!


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