Shame of the decade: The Perak power grab

By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — There are plenty of contenders for Malaysia’s biggest shame of the year.
The mystery of two missing fighter jet engines from under lock and key, which came to light just recently but almost two years after it happened, is a top candidate.
There is also the bloody cow’s-head parade outside the august Selangor state secretariat by some 50 religious radicals over the relocation of a Hindu temple a few months back.
And before that, there was the first-term lawmaker who lost his head and disrespectfully yelled “You murderer!” at the prime minister while Parliament was still in session.
But the Barisan Nasional’s behind-the-scenes machinations to topple the democratically-elected government in Perak 11 months ago surely qualifies as Malaysia’s shame of the decade.
Why is it the shame of the decade?
Hmm… could it be because a powerful political coalition gave the impression that it was desperate and petty enough to resort to coup tactics to grab power back?
Or that the elected representatives did not show a single stitch of honour by hopping back and forth between parties?
How about because the royal household which lost the respect and affection of many Malaysians for failing to do the right thing — dissolve the state assembly and call for fresh elections?
Or is it about the courts which ditched solid law made by some of Malaysia’s top jurists, law which stayed true to the principle of separation of powers, which made it clear that the courts have no business inquiring into matters of the legislature?
Or the fury of Perakians at then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak whom they accused of masterminding the coup when photographs of feet stepping on his poster were published?
Who is shamed by this crisis?
The BN?
Their political rival faction, Pakatan Rakyat?
The Sultan?
The state legal advisers?
The four frogs who leaped from party to party and which caused the political/ constitutional stand-off?
Does it matter?
The coup, bloodless as it was, triggered a series of events of epic proportions which struck at the very core of the rule of law and order.
Just like the country’s Constitution, the Perak state constitution is a contract which binds the people of Perak to its Rulers.
It sets out the terms that each agree to follow so they can all live in peace and prosperity.
All the things that went wrong in Perak have yet to be righted because the deafening clamour from voters calling for state-wide elections has been ignored.
The court battle — over who has the power to sack a lawfully appointed mentri besar — remains hanging with the Federal Court yet to set a date for decision despite having heard all the arguments.
Until these issues are dealt with and properly, the Perak shame will continue to hang like a deadweight on the minds of all right-thinking Malaysians who wonder what else can be done away with.
After all, there are now two multi-million ringgit giant Hollywood-style signboards erected at the north and south gateways to Ipoh, Perak’s capital, to serve as a constant reminder of where the shame began.
Perak is a classic case of the people in power forgetting who put them in power. The only good news is that the people who hold the power of the vote will not forget it.