By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)
IPOH, March 30 — Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen today cried foul over what they claimed was mistreatment by the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government during today’s assembly sitting although they had not caused a ruckus.
The group, led by former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, claimed they were given less respect than what was accorded to the BN assemblymen.
Additionally, they also claimed that the stringent security checks were not only unnecessary but also instilled fear in them.
Nizar even called the assembly sitting a “police assembly”, claiming that the police personnel in the assembly hall outnumbered the lawmakers.
“We were stopped at the gates when we were walking in — this shows we are not free. More unfortunate is that when we tried to enter the Dewan, we were blocked by the police and other officers who were preventing us from entering Door ‘E’.
“We were told that the door was for the BN, even though we received a letter from a man masquerading as the Speaker two days ago saying that the BN representatives enter at 10am through lift ‘6’ and we enter at 10.15am using lift ‘3’,” Nizar told a press conference at the Perak DAP headquarters after the sitting concluded this afternoon.
Nizar pointed out that the PR assemblymen had not created any disturbances and had respected the people’s wishes, but it was the BN’s strict measures that had caused them to voice their anger.
Today’s sitting, the first since the PR promised to work with the BN government, had gone on smoothly but was slightly marred when there was an uproar in the hall before the Perak Regent delivered his royal address.
“By 9am, we were already in the compound waiting for the opening. This shows that we in PR are willing to co-operate. It went smoothly, we sat at our respective places… this shows we want to be together.
“The reason why there was a commotion just now was because the door is to be only used by the BN representatives… this is not fair; why were we ordered to us another door?” asked Nizar.
The Pasir Panjang assemblyman also expressed unhappiness that the assembly was to go on for only two days, with only one day allocated for debates and the question and answer session.
“What can we discuss in just one day? That is why we asked them for five days… and you know what (BN-appointed Speaker Datuk) R. Ganesan did when we told him? He laughed,” said Nizar.
The PR lawmakers were also unhappy over two other issues — that the media were banned from entering the chamber and that the hall was crawling with policemen.
Ousted speaker V. Sivakumar said the media had been denied their right to freedom of speech when they were told to watch the sitting from an enclosure one floor above the chamber.
During the arguments in the hall, the media were unable to hear the heated exchanges as the speakers were turned off.
“This is not democracy. Regardless of who supports who, the media should all be there to cover,” he said.
Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham expressed fear at the heavy police presence in the hall, saying “that PR assemblymen could be gunned down if they went too far in the debates”.
“Today, we saw many people that we do not know like thugs, lining up inside and outside. I am afraid that tomorrow if there is a debate and they do not like what we say, they can take out their guns and shoot us dead.
“There are hundreds of police there… this is a big possibility because there are people who envy us,” he claimed.
The PR assemblymen have chosen to keep silent on their plans tomorrow but it is believed that they have a “strategy” to face the session.
Perak PR claims mistreatment by BN
By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)