The Perak Incident

The Perak incident was raised and discussed at SUHAKAM monthly meeting on 11th May 2009.

It appears to us that during the incident that occurred in the Perak State Legislative Assembly on 7th May 2009, the police and the civil service acted in concert with the government that has assumed power in controversial circumstances, showing complete disregard for human rights. Governments may change but those who serve in the police and administration must remain loyal to the wider interest and respect human rights rather than the narrow interest of individuals who form the government of the day.
When the elected members of the Assembly met and challenged each other in the august House, the police were busily engaged in “maintaining public order”. Outside, passive demonstrators dressed in black to mourn the violation of their rights to assemble peacefully, were particularly provoked and manhandled. The Dewan proceeded even while the court was still to decide on the following Monday, four days later, who was the legitimate Menteri Besar. The pre-emptive proceedings, the motion to sack the legitimate Speaker and his removal from the House and the action of the police force have caused much concern to the people at large. It somewhat makes us wonder whether service to the people is subordinate to service to political interests. The decision of the Court declaring Dato’ Seri Mohammed Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak has further complicated matters.
Malaysia is a democratic country based on human rights and the rule of law. The political disturbances in Perak and what transpired in the Dewan on 7th May would no doubt pose a dark shadow over our efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Malaysia.
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 provides that the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government. Judging from the events following the appointment of Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir as Menteri Besar, the incident in the Perak Assembly sitting on 7th May and the decision of the Court declaring Dato’ Seri Mohammed Nizar as the rightful Menteri Besar, it is very unlikely that the Perak issue will be resolved unless power is given back to the people. Courts action will not necessarily resolve the political situation in Perak. As Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanchik said, “the political situation in Perak has reached a stage that required the people to choose again.”
Perhaps the time has come for the people of Perak to be given the opportunity to exercise their right to choose again the Government of their choice, which is a basic human right. Only a stable government will be able to ensure the right to peace and development.
Two of the greatest gifts endowed by God to His creatures are the sense of sight and hearing. Without these there is no learning and progress. It is very encouraging that the Government under the leadership of YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak is prepared to listen to dissenting views. Hopefully the Government will also tolerate and appreciate peaceful public demonstration against unpopular policies and actions.
Human rights transcend race, status and political ranks. No person has more rights than the next one. Muslims are aware of this fundamental rights as espoused by Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon –
…All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action……
This, perhaps, will be a good basis for “1 Malaysia”.
Chairman Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)