Perak showdown (updated with reports)

Today 03/03/2009 is a historical day as something unprecedented is happening in Perak.

We shall see the outcome later...

UPDATED with chronological reports by Malaysiakini below:

Court halts assembly sittings

At an emergency assembly meeting held under a tree in a car park next to the state secretariat, the Pakatan representatives passed motions to support Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as the menteri besar as well as to dissolve the state assembly.

Meanwhile at the Ipoh High Court, a new twist developed when judge Ridwan Ibrahim told speaker V Sivakumar's lawyers that they had no legal standing to represent the speaker, who should be represented by the state legal advisor.

See below as developments unfolded.


4.56pm: Justice Ridwan has ruled in favour of Zambry by restraining the Perak speaker from convening state assembly sittings, according to Zambry's lawyers.

4.38pm: Zambry's lawyers are out of the judge's chambers. They are expected to hold a press conference soon.

3pm: Lawyers representing Zambry and his six exco members enter the judge's chambers.

2.50pm: The drama is back at the Ipoh High Court again - this time for judicial commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim to hear an application by Zambry to stop "all unlawful assembly sittings by Pakatan".

Speaker Sivakumar's lawyer Leong Cheok Keng and M Kula Segaran submit a letter to the judge stating that Sivakumar had no prior knowledge that the state legal advisor would be representing him.

The speaker told the judge that the decision to bar his lawyers from representing him this morning was wrong.

"I had no communication from the state legal advisor that he would be acting on my behalf," he said in the letter.

11.55am: Those who had lashed out at police personnel when Pakatan Rakyat state representatives were prevented from entering the state secretariat building this morning will be tracked down.

According to Bernama, Ipoh police chief Azisman Alias said more than 200 people had gathered outside the building but there were no untoward incidents.

However, he said several individuals had uttered harsh words against the police, and they would be tracked down from the photographs and videos taken of the incident.

Azisman said the police would also seek the help of the media to publish or broadcast the images of these individuals who attempted to prevent the police from exercising their duty.

11.45am: The crowd at the DAP headquarters start to disperse.

perak state govt crisis 030309 lawyers11.20am: Zambry's lawyers Mohd Hafarizam Harun and Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin hold press conference at the Ipoh High Court. They reveal that they had filed an injunction application at 8.30am against all unlawful assembly sittings by Pakatan.

The matter will be heard before justice Ridwan at 2.30pm today. They said that the speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor for this application.

They also said that the judge will fix another date to hear Zambry's two other applications.

perak state govt crisis suk building rain tree assembly 030309 0211.15am: About 300 people have gathered at the DAP headquarters, listening to a ceramah by Pakatan leaders.

10.57am: Nizar also urged the people to stay calm and follow the law. He told them not to emulate the troublemakers who had tried to stop him and the other representatives from entering the state secretariat earlier today.

10.53am: Ngeh also said that speaker Sivakumar will initiate contempt proceedings against the police and the state secretary.

10.50am: State DAP chief and senior exco member under the Pakatan government Ngeh Koo Ham: "It is a very sad day. We have descended into a police state."

10.49am: Nizar says that he will seek an audience with the Perak sultan to inform him the decision of the House. He insisted that the sitting was held in accordance with the rules and regulations.

perak state govt crisis suk building rain tree assembly 030309 0110.46am: Nizar at the press conference said: "We held a sitting under a tree based on the doctrine of necessity because we were prevented from entering the assembly but we had to fulfil our duties based on the notice issued by the speaker".

10.35am: A new twist at the Ipoh High Court. Speaker Sivakumar's lawyer Tommy Thomas held a press conference to say that the judge had ruled that private lawyers have no legal standing to represent the speaker.

perak state govt crisis 030309 tommy thomasThomas said that according to judge Ridwan Ibrahim, only the state legal advisor can act for the speaker since he (the speaker) is part of the state government.

With this ruling, Thomas said that they would be taking instructions from Sivakumar on the next course of action.

Thomas also said that their arguments that it would be a conflict for the state advisor to represent the speaker was dismissed by the judge.

He also said that the judge dismissed their application to conduct watching brief with the right to submit on behalf of the speaker.

The issue of legal standing was raised by Zambry's lawyers.

perak state assembly building 03030910.31am: Sivakumar is now heading towards the DAP headquarters nearby where he will be holding a press conference to explain the next course of action. Nizar is also expected to hold a press conference there. The DAP HQ is located right opposite the state secretariat's rear entrance.

10.30am: The speaker has adjourned the "historic" assembly meeting. Sivakumar will now have to present the motions to the Perak sultan for further action.

10.25am: The second motion to dissolve the state assembly was also moved, debated and passed unanimously.

The emergency sitting under the tree also passed a third motion - to adopt the decision of the rights and privileges committee headed by Sivakumar to suspend Zambry and his six exco members.

10.23am: The first motion was passed unanimously. Every present Pakatan representative shouted 'setuju' (agree) when a vote was taken on the motion.

perak state govt crisis suk building rain tree assembly 030309 0410.20am: The first motion to express confidence on Nizar as the menteri besar is being tabled now.

10.18am: Sivakumar is in his full speaker's robe to chair the meeting. It is held in a very formal manner. He told the viewing crowd not to clap or cheer and to respect the meeting.

10.15am: The meeting starts with a prayer session, It is held under a raintree, without any chairs for the state representatives and the speaker to sit.

10.13am: Speaker Sivakumar has decided to hold the emergency meeting right at the car park. All Pakatan representatives are present. Some 300 people are watching the historic proceeding.

10.08am: Speaker Sivakumar and Nizar are also seen with the other state representatives at the car park. The impromptu meeting is still proceeding there.

perak state govt crisis 030309 pakatan lawyers10.05am: Meanwhile at the Ipoh High Court, lawyers from both sides are learnt to have been in the judge's chambers for the past 30 minutes.

10.01am: The Nizar entourage has stopped at the car park located some 50 metres away from the state secretariat's main entrance and are huddled in a meeting. Speaker Sivakumar is not in this group.

10am: Nizar and the state representatives are leaving the area. They are headed to the DAP headquarters and will be holding a press conference there.

Some 200 Pakatan supporters are still waiting at the state secretariat entrance.

9.55am: Ipoh police chief Azisman: "I have spoken to both Ngeh and the state secretary (Abdul Rahman Hashim) and the state secretary said no one is allowed to enter the state secretariat".

9.53am: Senior state exco member under the Pakatan government Ngeh Koo Ham is still trying to negotiate with Ipoh police chief to allow them to enter the state secretariat.

9.50am: Eyewitnesses say that the police have asked speaker Sivakumar alone to enter the state secretariat. This could not be confirmed.

9.49am: The police are ordering the crowd to disperse. The crowd is shouting 'Hidup Rakyat!'.

9.45am: Ipoh OCPD Azisman Alias refuses to negotiate, says no one is allowed to enter. The police are pushing away the Pakatan state representatives away from the main entrance. The situation is very chaotic.

9.40am: Nizar's people are negotiating with the police as the FRU are not allowing anyone inside the state secretariat. The crowd now stands at about 200, most of whom are Pakatan supporters. The water cannon is pointed towards the crowd.

9.35am: A group of people numbering about 30 are blocking Nizar and his team from heading towards the main entrance. No police interference. Nizar and group walked past them to the main entrance.

9.30am: Ousted Menteri Besar Nizar and his state representatives arrive at the state secretariat.

9.25am: A slanging match ensues between BN and Pakatan supporters at the main entrance of the secretariat. The BN supporters showered profanities at the Pakatan lot who had been shouting ‘reformasi!'.

9.21am: The police and FRU trucks are blocking the main entrance to the state secretariat. The Pakatan state representatives are expected to try to get into the building to go to the state assembly through this entrance.

9.20am: The crowd - a good multi-racial one - at the state secretariat has swelled to about 100 now.

9.15am: Pakatan state representatives who had earlier met at a nearby hotel are on their way to the state secretariat.

9.10am: Lawyers from both sides are in the court house.

9am: About 40 FRU personnel in full gear position themselves at the rear entrance of the state secretariat. Some of them are armed with rifles and tear-gas launchers.

8.55am: At the Ipoh High Court - no crowd, no police. Only lawyers for the speaker are present so far. This defence team is led by constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, Chan Kok Keong, Philip Koh Tong Ngee and Augustine Antony. Several other lawyers are expected to join them.

Perak MB Zambry Abd Kadir's two applications will be heard today. The first is on speaker Sivakumar's use of the undated resignation letters of three BN-friendly independents to vacate their state seats. The second is over the suspensions of Zambry and his six exco members.

The matters will be heard before judicial commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim at High Court 4.

Zambry and Co are not expected to be present in court today. Their defence team is led by Mohd Hafarizam Harun with Badrul Hishah Abd Wahab, Faizul Hilmy Ahmad Zamri.

8.50am: About 50 curious onlookers have gathered at the rear entrance of the state secretariat. "No signs of any trouble," says Malaysiakini journalist Andrew Ong.

zambry file suit 020309 fru8.30am: Roadblocks have been set up since yesterday along the main road leading to the state secretariat. No vehicles are allowed near the building.

More than 100 police personnel are on standby at the state secretariat. Dozens of journalists are also there.

8.15am: The main entrance to the state secretariat building in Ipoh is shut, denying access to anyone wanting to enter the secretariat. A huge police presence is also visible around the state secretariat.

The police have also cordoned off the road at the back of the state secretariat. Federal Reserve Unit trucks and water cannons are on standby as well.

Yesterday state police chief Zulkefli Abdullah had warned people not to gather at the state secretariat.

The Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons have planned to gather at the main entrance of the state secretariat at 10am before going into the state assembly located in the secretariat to conduct their emergency meeting.

Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir's legal suits against speaker V Sivakumar is expected to be heard at 9am at the Ipoh High Court.



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