Pakatan panel finds BN's Ganesan guilty of contempt

IPOH: The Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) Rights and Privileges Committee today found Perak Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan guilty of contempt for his role in the May 7 state assembly fracas and is recommending a six-month jail term.

Ousted PR Speaker V Sivakumar announced this today after PR members of the committee convened a meeting at a hotel here to consider a complaint by Pokok Assam assemblyman Yee Seu Kai.

The decision to punish Ganesan is not likely to be enforced as the PR panel has not been recognised either by the Barisan Nasional (BN) controlled legislature or the state government.

The committee plans to serve a notice to Ganesan soon to vacate the Speaker’s office and stop “impersonating” the Speaker, in what is seen as an attempt to continue stepping up PR's claims that the BN government was illegitimate.

“The committee has heard testimony from three witnesses and has concluded that Ganesan committed contempt of the assembly," said Sivakumar.

He said that the committee would propose to the Assembly that Ganesan be jailed for six-months, and fined RM500,000 in default of six months’ jail.

Earlier PR members, in their unrelenting determination to hold the Rights and Privileges Committee hearing inside the State Secretariat, made their second attempt in a week to enter the building today but were denied entry again.

This time however, the committee stepped up its aggressive stance and refused, for almost two hours, to accept the explanations offered to them by lower-ranking secretariat officials and the police, who were manning the BN government’s fort.

Led by Sivakumar, who is chairman of the committee, the group marched towards the back entrance of the building at about 10am and demanded to see State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim.

Like Monday however, the only people who were present to diffuse the situation were Ipoh CID chief Deputy Supt S. Glenn Anthony and his army of officers and principal assistant to Abdul Rahman, Shamshuzaman Sulaiman.

Shamshuzaman, in his usual faltering tone, told Sivakumar that under orders from Abdul Rahman, the committee was not allowed to convene its meeting since it was not “recognised” as the legal select committee under the State Assembly.

Enraged, Sivakumar told Shamshuzaman that the “state’s top civil servant” was a coward and was obviously getting involved in politics.

“He is supposed to remain neutral. Who is he to determine whether or not our committee is recognised? Who does not recognise it? Him? Or the BN government?

“Bring him down here now. I want him to tell us, face to face, that he is prohibiting us from entering the building,” he said.

Sivakumar also argued that he was not forcing Abdul Rahman or the BN government to “recognise” the committee. He said he only wanted to meet inside the building.

“And am I not an elected representative? We were all elected by the people to become lawmakers and to enter this building and conduct our businesses.

“By stopping us, you are infringing Section 124 of the Penal Code. We will have to lodge reports against you people again,” he said.

As the minutes went by and the arguments only succeeded in getting louder, it was clear that the PR members would not get to set foot into the building compound.

Shamshuzaman looked more and more agitated, as his repeated calls to Abdul Rahman could not convince the latter to make an appearance.

Sivakumar on the other hand, and his PR comrades, including the notoriously aggressive Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai, were insisting on staying until Abdul Rahman showed up.

At about 10.50am, after Shamshuzaman left to fetch Abdul Rahman for the second time but returned alone again and said that the latter was busy in a function, a highly-frazzled Chan uttered an expletive under his breath before stealthily unlocking the gates and pushing his way partially through.

Upon seeing this, Shamshuzaman quickly left the scene while the police moved to physically stop Chan from entering the compound.

The two parties shoved and pushed at each other roughly, resulting in Chan being left with his left arm and leg wedged between the gates.

Still, they were not allowed to enter.

A few minutes later, the usually mild-mannered Sivakumar shouted that he wanted to see Abdul Rahman and then he too tried to barge his way in.

“Ok, forget the committee meeting. This time, can you let us in as state assemblymen, so we can meet with Abdul Rahman and have a drink in the canteen?” he said.

DSP Glenn however was adamant in enforcing Abdul Rahman’s orders and did not allow the group in.

When Bercham assemblyman Sum Cheok Leng from DAP said he wanted to use the toilet inside the building, DSP Glenn retorted: “The toilet is spoiled.”

At this point, both Chan and Sivakumar were wedged between the gates.

At 11.40am, the committee finally decided to move away but did not back down without first issuing a threat.

“Tell Abdul Rahman that we will be issuing him a notice today for tomorrow’s (Friday) committee hearing.

“When we come tomorrow, we want him to face us and tell us personally that he is stopping us from entering this building.

“If he does not appear, we will push our way in,” said Sivakumar.

The group then adjourned their committee hearing to the Syuen Hotel.

MI
30/07/09

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