Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Perak fiasco: Police made mistakes, says Syed Hamid - Star

March 4, 2009 By SAZUKI EMBONG

KOTA BARU: Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar admitted that the police made mistakes in handling the Perak State Assembly fiasco on Tuesday.

“If we study the situation in toto, we can see the mistakes made by the police. But I think the Bar Council should look at the situation from the point of law.

“In the first place, it was decided that the Speaker had been banned from convening a meeting and if he enters the State Assembly building, it would be trespassing.

“When one trespasses, it is the duty of the police to stop him,” Syed Hamid said.

The incident Syed Hamid was referring to took place on Tuesday morning, when police prevented Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, including former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, from entering the state secretariat building in Ipoh to hold an emergency sitting of the state assembly.

A group of what is believed to have been Barisan Nasional supporters also formed a barricade around the building, and there was some pushing and shoving.

The emergency sitting was called by State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar, who was the only one allowed into the building. Instead, Sivakumar held the emergency sitting at a vacant lot near the secretariat building.

The court order restraining Sivakumar from holding any meeting “purporting to be state assemblies” was however only issued late Tuesday afternoon.

Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming filed an emergency motion at the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s Office on Wednesday to debate and condemn the incident in Parliament.

On Tuesday, Nga and Titi Serong assemblyman Khalil Idham Lim had also lodged police reports against the Ipoh OCPD and state secretary for stopping the 28 assemblymen from entering the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building.

“This took place because they (Pakatan Rakyat reps) wanted to do things at their whim and fancy and refused to follow the law,” Syed Hamid told reporters after meeting Kelantan Rela members here Wednesday.

He had been asked to comment the Bar Council’s statement that the police had not been impartial when carrying out their duties.

The Bar Council statement said there were questions as to whether the emergency sitting concerned could be held outside the assembly building.

“Of course, the building is where the assembly ought to be held. However, the Speaker and assemblymen were prevented from holding it in a proper place by the police and this raises serious issues as to the legality of the police action,” council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

She said the police could have acted improperly on the advice of the assembly’s secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri which was in defiance of the Speaker.

Syed Hamid however said that Tuesday’s incident took place because they (Pakatan reps) had not complied with state laws.

“The law is the law and when we become elected representatives, we’re not above the law and must adhere to both state and Federal laws,” he said, without specifying which laws the Pakatan reps had broken.

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