Monday, February 23, 2009

Dayak’s Economic Dependence in Exchange for Native Customary Land?

46 years into independence we still have too many Dayaks indigenous peoples of Sarawak to remain economically dependent on the Barisan government. These economically dependent dayaks were normally poor dayaks of the rural areas. With the subsidies they got, the poor dayaks had no choice but to back the Barisan Nasional. This perpetuated the Barisan Nasional to stay in power in exchange for the meager subsidies. The meager subsides contributed to slow down the development in the dayak areas. The slow development pace in dayak areas therefore gave much advantage to the Barisan government to stay in power. This was a powerful political weapon used by the Barisan National government. The Barisan Nasional never gave free lunch!

The dayaks had no choice, but, just had to wait for government help to uplift their standard of living. Many had to wait for government help to survive. Why not speed development in these dayak areas so that these dayaks will not forever be dependant on government subsidies? We need to compare with West Malaysia. Why the kampungs in West Malaysia developed very fast? Could our oil money was only being siphoned there to help West Malaysians and should our dayak people be neglected?

By helping the Barisan Nasional in power, the poor dayaks were in actual fact helping the BN political leaders to enrich themselves by giving them time to alienate lands dayak lands for large scale plantations to cronies and to themselves. When their lands were alienated or taken away, dispute arises but because native lands have no title, it was always a futile exercise for the dayaks to fight for their land. Nasty incidences happened and in one incident four people were killed some years ago in Ulu Niah where it was said 19 people were charged for the killing. Of course, there were many other instances which included arrests and other harassments against dayaks who defended their lands.

The dayaks in actual fact were at the mercy of their own leaders. Most of these leaders were in the government and too many were afraid to champion their own people for fear of losing their positions which goes with them some perks for extra good living. Instead of helping their own people, these few dayak leaders who have good life and who enjoy some power in corridors of powers also benefited in the whole scheme. Why should they take care to ensure the lands of their own people not to fall into hands of the greedy politicians in the Barisan Nasional government? Although in power they took very little proactive action to get the native lands to be survey and land titles issued. Without land titles to these lands therefore were stateland. So, its time for them to kick their own leaders out!

Dayak leaders like Tan Sri Jabu and James Masing should come out and to clear the air whether or not they have lands alienated to them or to their family because their own people are entitled to know. Should they be kicked out this time?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Perak BN Government with PR Speaker will collapse

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before he leaves office should persuade the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to let the Election Commission to hold fresh election to resolve the political stalemate in Perak. The Prime Minister should understand that most quarters are against elected representatives jumping ship as this will not be healthy to democracy in the country.

The Prime Minister has to understand that the political fiasco in Perak does not end by having BN formed the government. Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar and his Cabinet could have been replaced, but, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly who is from the Pakatan Rakyat is legally still the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The Speaker, Sivakumar, has not resigned nor had he been disqualified. He could not be forced to resign unless he loses his seat in the Legislative Assembly. The sultan could not get him to resign because unlike Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar and his Cabinet, the Speaker was not appointed by the sultan, but, in Sivakumar’s case, he was elected by Pakatan Rakyat. Even that, the correctness or the legality of the command of the sultan to force Datuk Mohammad Nizar and his cabinet to resign is doubtful as the matter has to be decided by the courts. This is because the sultan’s prerogative power could be subjected to judicial review by the courts.

The Prime Minister must also understand that the Speaker also could not be removed by a vote of non-confidence as this is not provided by the Perak state Constitution.

The BN Cabinet has to face the Speaker from Pakatan Rakyat and the Prime Minister should be able to anticipate the embarrassment it would cause to the BN government under the PM’s leadership if Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Hii Yit Fong whom the Speaker said had received their resignation will not be allowed by the Speaker to enter the Legislative Assembly or be evicted from the sitting. They had “resigned” and if evicted from the Legislative Assembly, they have to go to court to seek court declarations about their positions in the Legislative Assembly.

The Prime Minister must know that while the Speaker has to play by the book, but, the Speaker will also apply the unwritten rules, tactics and songs played by the BN government all these while in Parliament. There will be nothing BN could do to stop the Speaker not to follow what the BN government did in Parliament to curtail democratic debates in the House. The BN government led by Dr. Zambry will definitely face expulsions or be serious censured for the little mistakes they may make during their debates.

Once expulsion begins, the BN government who excluding the three who had resigned only has 28 to 27 for Pakatan Rakyat will also have no numbers to pass the many bills into law. With that, the government may not be able to operate because financial bills once not passed will force the BN government to run the state without money. To borrow money to run the government without the sanction of the Legislative Assembly may also be illegal and the Dr. Zambry and his Cabinet will be forced to personally pay the debts themselves. They may even face criminal charges, if not careful.

This can definitely force the Perak Legislative Assembly to be dissolved.

What will happen if the Speaker does not want to convene a meeting even though a directive has been issued by the Dr. Zambry, the new MB from BN? Again, nothing much BN could do except to go to court or if this arises, the BN government also has to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. This will then be an embarrassing closing chapter in the political career of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as a Prime Minister. His leadership to steer the country out of political hands of the palace will be judged in the future. The Prime Minister should understand that his predecessor, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad had wanted to lessen the influence of the palace in the running of the affairs of the country. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, instead had created uncertainty about this matter in the administration and will set a dangerous precedent in the Malaysian politics that could destabilize the peace and harmony in the country where rioting and street demonstrations will become more prevalent to influence political opinions.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stop And Search By Police Officers

This article serves as an advice to members of public due to recent incidents of rising cases of bogus police officers and police officers abusing their powers while in the performance of their duties.

Many people thought that police officers have unlimited power of search and arrest. This is not true. While section 3 of the Police Act 1967 appeared to give police officers the authority to search and to arrest where necessary to prevent and detect crime, this power is however, subjected to the principle of “legality”. That is, police officers could be made liable for damages for their unlawful search and arrest of citizens in the street and in premises. Article 8 of the Federal Constitution protects the citizens from arbitrary power of the police and police officers are subjected to the Rule of Law and this implies that all powers must be specifically conferred.

Both the Police and the Criminal Procedure Code do not provide specific powers to permit random stop and search of persons without an arrest. We used to hear of “Ops Sapu” or “Ops Bersih” where police officers during these operations went around inspecting entertainment joints in the cities to randomly check for patrons for dangerous drugs or incriminating items such as for dangerous weapons. Such actions by the police could be unlawful because most often the search were very arbitrary exercised. If random checks be made, owners of entertainment joints should lodge police report and complain the matter to the relevant authorities. Sometimes foreign patrons and guests who were genuine customers in the entertainment joints were arrested and without any basis being accused or suspected of being involved in unhealthy activities.

However, there are provisions in the law that allows police officers to stop and search vehicles suspected to have been used in committing a criminal offence. The Police Act 1967 allows police officers to seize vehicles for the purpose of inspecting the vehicles for incriminating goods and after search has been completed, the vehicles must be returned to its rightful owner as soon as possible. These police officers were not to detain the seized vehicles without a court order for period longer than that permitted by the Police Act 1967 itself.

Demand the Identification of the Search and Arrest Officer

The problem is when being stopped and searched while driving of while walking in the streets, how one would know that the person who stopped him either in uniform or otherwise is or not a police officer? The person in police uniform may not necessarily be a policeman. Therefore, whether the person been in police uniform or not, the best thing to do when stopped, is to ask for the Warrant Card of the person who stopped and searched you. A Warrant Card is in actual fact an identity card of a policeman which must have his photograph, name and the Police Force Number of the person. Policemen do not have civilian identity cards and because upon joining the Force their civilian identity cards have to be seized by the authorities.

So, when the person who claims himself as a police officer could not produce his Warrant Card then it is likelihood that he is not a police officer. When faced with this situation, do not follow the person’s instructions. If he produces a Warrant Card, it is also wise not only to look, but, to read the contents of the Warrant Card carefully before submitting to his instructions. Even that, it would be a good idea to counter check with the nearest police station the identification of the person who claimed himself to be an officer.

Precautionary Measures During Search & Arrest

When searched by police officers as to body and premises, it is also advisable to get someone as witnesses of the search. The law requires that a female has to be searched by a female and if a male policeman makes a bodily search on a female, complaints could be made for assault and battery. Besides witnesses, it would be helpful if you have a camera and a recorder with you to record the search. The camera could be useful to take photographs of officers using excessive force on the person searched or to deter being fixed up with incriminating materials or dangerous drugs by the officers conducting the search. In recent years there was an increase in cases of bogus policemen and police officers abusing their powers and this precaution is necessary because not all police officers are honest or sincere in their work.

The law also does not allow excessive use of force on persons when conduct search and arrest. If this happened, it would be wise to lodge a police report and if injured it is also wise to request a policeman to escort you to the government hospital or government clinic for medical check-up and treatment. As a precaution against unwarranted allegation of your injuries as being self-inflicted you should avoid going alone to government hospital or government clinic if no police escort is made available.

The police officer who conducted the search has no right to command a person stopped and searched to go to police station with him without disclosing that he was placed under arrest and without informing the reasons of the arrest. As a precaution, do no go to police station alone and if you could not get someone to follow you, it is advisable that you make phone calls to your friends or lawyers that you were under arrest. Also, do not forget to disclose in your phone calls the names of the officers who arrested you and the vehicle registration plate number and proper description of vehicle used to bring you to police station. If you have not been informed the purpose and reasons of your arrest, lodge a police report immediately or get someone to lodge a police report on your behalf first, so that the matter could be investigated at the earliest opportunity.

After being placed under arrest, make sure that the police officer conducting the arrest not to bring you anywhere, except to the nearest police station. If he makes a detour, you need to warn him that you will make a complaint against him to his senior officers. It may also work if you just tell him or lie to him that some of his senior officers are your friends or relatives. By telling that you know some senior government servants or politicians can also be a threat to the officer.

If a search is made on premises, such powers were normally given to police officers with the rank of inspectors and above and most often these categories of officers may not be required by law to be armed with a search or arrest warrant. However, there are cases such as search for dangerous drugs allows search of premises be conducted by police officers with the rank of sergeant and be armed with search warrant. Police officers conducting search can only break-in into the premises to conduct search after access to get in is not given.

If the officer although armed with a warrant of which he is required to do so, just breaks in without first identifying himself and producing his warrant, he can be assaulted and be forced not to enter the premises. This also applies to all unwelcome intruders. Even if the officer is in police uniform and had properly identified himself but had told the premise owner that he had left his search or arrest warrant at home, he could also be not allowed to enter the premises to conduct search and arrest and could be accordingly be assaulted or chased out for trespass. If he breaks any door or window to get in, the officer could be charged for a criminal offence of house breaking.

Right of Silence

After being placed under arrest, you have a right to keep silent and not to speak anything that could incriminate or implicate you with an alleged offence. This is because what ever thing you say could be a basis for the police to charge you and could also be given as evidence against you. The best thing is try to get a lawyer immediately to protect your interest. It would be a bit too late to protect your interest if you get a lawyer only after being charged in court. Lawyers should be engaged in the earliest opportunity. Do not sign any document asked by police officers unless you are sure of the contents. Police officers may just ask you to sign a prepared statement in which statement in the document therein may not contain what you have related to them. This was an unlawful and short-cut procedure normally taken by some police officers to fit in the evidence of the case against you.

While under questioning, insists an interpreter in the language that you are comfortable with and if the officer threatened you for refusing to sign the statement, you may threaten him back and tell him that you have a right to lodge a police report against him or to complain the matter to the magistrates.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Suing the King an Act of Betrayal?

In a democratic country the people decides how the country should be run. The Constitution is the supreme law passed by Members of Parliament elected by the people and the Constitution serves as a guide of how the country should be governed. No one including the King is immune from prosecution and the King could be brought to court to determine the legality of the King’s action and the King can be beheaded for treason. Therefore, there is no doctrine of Divine Right of Kings to rule with power of God. All kings are subjected to earthly authority and they could not act beyond the powers given under the Constitution.

The Court is given by Parliament the legal authority to determine the legality of the King’s exercise of power. In democratic system all powers could not be in the hands of one authority. All powers could also not be in the hands of the King alone. This separation of power was adopted in all democratic countries and Malaysia that practices Parliamentary Democracy is no exception. Therefore, the people are supreme and it is the people that determine how a country is to be run through laws enacted in Parliament by the peoples’ elected representative.

The power of the people to rule the country by democratic system was determined in England where their king, King Charles I was beheaded on 30 January, 1649 after being found guilty of treason against his country by the High Court of Justice appointed by Parliament.

This also happened in France, where King Louis XIV was beheaded in 1793 after being found guilty by the French Court for having conspired against the liberty of his country.

The King Is Not Above the Constitution

Likewise, in Malaysia there is no such thing as Divine Rights of King and the power to prosecute the King is given under Article 33A of the Federal Constitution. It has also been determined as far back as 1977 by a five-man bench of the Federal Court that the decision of the King on detention orders under the Emergency Ordinance 1969 if ultra vires the Federal Constitution was amendable to judicial review. The ruling of the Federal Court has stood the test of time for 33 years. The Federal Constitution also allows the sultans to be sued and this was evidenced in the case of Faridah Begum Bte. Abdullah v. Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah [1996] 1 MLJ 617.

In the present political and legal problems surrounding the government of Perak, there is nothing wrong for Karpal Singh wanting to sue the sultan as this is provided for under our Malaysian Federal Constitution and it is up to the Court later on to determine whether or not the action of Karpal Singh would be correct or otherwise. As a citizen, Karpal Singh has a constitutional and fundamental right to sue the sultan and whoever he wants. The Malaysian public and politicians from both camps should not view the matter by Karpal Singh as seditious or political as what Karpal Singh wanted was to determine the extent and legality of the exercise of power by the sultan.

Karpal Singh’s action should be supported by the Pakatan Rakyat and the Malaysian public. This is because in a country that practises democracy, the people has to right to know whether or not the sultan was exceeding his power or was exercising a power without any legal authority at all. This is important to the survival of democracy in the country.

In Perak, among the issues that need to be determine is can the sultan appoint another Menteri Besar without having the Legislative Assembly being dissolved? Has the sultan the discretion to withhold consent when the Menteri Besar from Pakatan Rakyat, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin wanted the Legislative Assembly be dissolved? Can the sultan command Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his cabinet to resign? These are all legal issues that need to be answered by the Court.

Therefore, to lodge police reports and accusing Karpal Singh for sedition and the call to invoke the Internal Security Act 1960 should be viewed by the authorities as a treat to the safety and liberty of the person of Karpal Singh and also malicious, scandalous and mischievous act against Karpal Singh’s right to sue the sultan. Karpal did not mean any disrespect to the sultan, but, was only questioning the legal power and exercise of authority by the sultan.

If Karpal Singh would ever be arrested and detained by the authorities under the Internal Security Act 1960 for his action against the sultan of Perak, Karpal Singh should take legal action against those who lodge police reports against him and also against whom who fane the fire to cause him to be arrested and be detained. To this, I hope members of the public and politicians from both camps to be advised not to aggravate the matter that would cause unnecessary breach of public security.

To those who aggravate the situation and cause the authorities to invoke the Internal Security Act 1960 could also be placed under the Internal Security Act 1960 itself or be charged under the Sedition Act 1948 for putting oil to the fire and to get the whole situation to unnecessary escalate to uncontrolled level.

Who Had Shown Disrespect to the Rulers?

UMNO members including some of the present leaders should examine their own act before accusing others of disrespect against the malay rulers. The 1983 constitutional crisis was still fresh in the minds of many Malaysians where the UMNO led Barisan Nasional wanted to amend the Federal Constitution to restrict the powers of the King by having all Bills passed by Parliament to automatically become law without a royal assent. This was not a legal issue as there was no law to do that at that time and it was purely a political issue brought upon by Dr. Mahathir and the majority members of UMNO to curtail the power of the King. Dr. Mahathir had to drum up support because not all malays including those in UMNO were supporting Dr. Mahathir at that time. The political issue then led to the amendment of the Federal Constitution. Was this not an act of disrespect against the King? Was the King been consulted by your action? Who betrayed the King? Who diluted the King’s power and why this was done? Why political rallies all over the country at that time allowed but when political gatherings surrounding the recent political crisis by Pakatan Rakyat were condemned?

To UMNO members and supporters, if you turn a legal issue into a political issue, public security can be breached and if the safety of Karpal Singh is threatened or endangered you will definitely face the consequences of the law.



























Friday, February 6, 2009

Discard Political Chess Players!

The Perak fiasco which led to the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government was the work of political chess players. They had played with the peoples’ trust in them and their maneuvering in the past few moths had caused much uncertainty and anxiety among all Malaysians. The Malaysian public, are angry with them, but, let us take such a fiasco by these hidden hands as a lesson for all to learn and should not be disheartened by the events. The voters are therefore urged to identify politicians who play political chess and politicians that have a mission in politics for people and country. We should all stand together to get rid those who play political chess as the maneuvering of political chess not only had betrayed the peoples’ trust in them and caused the downfall of legitimate government of Perak, but, also could lead to another May 13, economic downfall and chaos in the country. We should teach them a lesson this coming general elections.

The Barisan Nasional leaders should be held responsible and people are angry with you and you should no more be playing political chess, but, instead look forward to govern this country properly and steer this country from the present economic downturn. You are taking the short route to regain the government of Perak and by doing so you are against the sanctity of democracy and were playing with the peoples’ trust in you. Your success will be a temporary relief. Being political chess players, you created money politics which caused the public to have very little confidence on the judiciary, the security and investigation agencies and the political system in the country.

UMNO being the backbone of the BN should wake up and your doings had created many problems in the country. Your actions also had affected other components of the BN and they had by your actions suffered in silence over the years. Not only that, the people who supported them also has to suffer the same and with that the whole country has to suffer. This is the domino effect of your political misbehaving and inefficiency.

BN leaders must know that the whole administration including internal security has been affected. In ensuring peace, economic and political stability, the only effective law your present government know is the Internal Security Act 1960 and this Instrument of Terror (ISA) was also not adequate for you to maintain the much needed peace, economic and political stability in the country. This seems not enough and this Instrument of Terror has to be supported by the Sedition Act 1948 to seal the mouths of dissidents. You had miserably failed in your political responsibility and needed to be removed in the coming election.

You should take the observation of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that a large section of people will be angry by your action in taking over the state government of Perak on the basis of the dubious crossovers. Your action will create a Sarawak Tsunami and will lead into the downfall of your government. Sarawak has been your political dam all these past 45 years where you got your seats, but, this political dam will soon collapse and be destroyed.

To the people, let stand behind us solidly and we will lead the change in this coming election. We want a change and in you can we only make a change. If you will not be behind us this time democracy will have no meaning at all in this country because these political chess players will continue to create much more hardship to us. They can ruin the country and you and they should be discarded from having a part in our politics.

The public should also not to worry much about Pakatan Rakyat as leaders in the Pakatan Rakyat will definitely be able to find out the causes and reasons for the recent defections. The DAP may lost a seat in Perak, but, DAP will make sure that other seats in the country will not be affected by the events in Perak. The taking of rotten apples into the Pakatan Rakyat should stop as they can cause political bombs within the already fragile Pakatan Rakyat.