Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hey! I’ve Been Offered US$1,350,000 By Some Coon!

Yesterday, I received this email.

From :
Sent : Tuesday, 3March, 2009 4:16 PM
To :
Subject : This is very important,please reply

Good day my dear, I am Andrew Maurice. Nationality sierra leone. I am 23 years old, a student. I lost my father years back. He died during the political crisis in my country. My late father was one of the directors under Tijan Kabbah government.

My mother is aged and she is 62 years now an old woman. We are leaving in Cote D'ivoire since past six months. It is my desire to write from my heart hoping that you will help us. My father diverted some huge some of money which he deposited with a bank in this country when he was alive,in fact in a brife i introdution.

All the information will be given to you when i hear from you. This money totaling us$ 9,000,000.00 ( Nine Million United States Dollar. Now we are seeking for a trusted person who will receive this money into his/her account for onward investment.

We have decieded to give you 15% of the total sum for your kind assistance.It is an inheritace and our last hope. Show your interest and we proceed on the next step of action. Thanks and God bless you.

Andrew Maurice

I want to warn others about these coons and their scams.
Pokok Demokrasi Perak

Power of Speaker to Convene Legislative Assembly
Contributed by Tommy Thomas

I have been asked to advise whether the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Perak was entitled in law to convene the Legislative Assembly on 3rd March 2009. Ultimately, the issue turns on whether the last meeting of the Assembly in November 2008 was prorogued (“di-berhentikan”) or adjourned (“di-tangguhkan”). If it was prorogued, only the Sultan of Perak (“HRH”) can summon the Assembly: if it was adjourned, then the Speaker can convene. According to my instructions, what was adjourned sine die in November 2008, was the Third Sitting of the First Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly of Perak. This opinion is written on that factual basis.


2. The starting point in the analysis is the Laws of the Constitution of Perak, and in particular Articles 36 and 44. Article 36 deals with the summoning, prorogation and dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. Article 36 (1) and (2) read as follows:-

“(i) His Royal Highness shall from time to time summon the Legislative Assembly and shall not allow six months to lapse between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.

(ii) His Royal Highness may prorogue or dissolve the Legislative Assembly”.

It should be noted that Article 36 does not deal with adjournment of the Assembly. Article 44 (1) states that the Legislative Assembly shall regulate its own procedure and may make Standing Rules and Orders for “the regulation and orderly conduct of its own proceedings and the conduct of business”. Article 44 (1) recognises the well settled constitutional principle that the Assembly is the master of its procedure, and its sovereignty over its internal affairs cannot be questioned by any external body.


3. Pursuant to Article 44 (1) of the State Constitution, the First Meeting of the Second Session of the Seventh State Legislative Assembly of Perak passed Standing Orders on 23rd March 1988. Standing Order (“SO”) 88 is the definition order. The expressions “meeting”, “session” and
“sitting” are defined in SO 88 as follows:-

“ ‘meeting’ means any sitting or sittings of the Assembly when the Assembly first meets after being summoned at any time and terminating when the Assembly is adjourned for more than fourteen days or sine die at the conclusion of a sessions”;

“ ‘session means the sittings of the Assembly commencing when the Assembly first meets after being constituted, or after its prorogation or dissolution at any time, and terminating when the Assembly is prorogued or dissolved without having been prorogued”;

“ ‘sitting’ means a period during which the Assembly is sitting continuously (apart from any suspension) without adjournment, and includes any period during which the Assembly is in Committee”.

A review of the definitions given to the 3 terms would indicate that a meeting is the shortest period, followed by a sitting, while a session is of the longest duration.

4. It is significant that the definitions of these expressions in SO 88 reflect their ordinary meaning as the Oxford English Reference Dictionary (2nd Ed. 1996) indicates:-

“adjourn : put off, postpone, break off with the intention of resuming later.

prorogue : discontinue the meetings (of Parliament) without dissolving it.

sitting : a time during which an assembly is engaged in business.

meeting : persons assembled.

session : a period during which meetings of assembly are regularly held.”

5. Adjournment is the subject matter of 3 Standing Orders. Pursuant to SO 15 and 16, upon a motion for adjournment after the completion of all business in a sitting, Mr Speaker is entitled to adjourn the Assembly. The first pre-condition for such adjournment is the completion of all business. What is thus being adjourned is a sitting, and not a session  a session can consist of numerous sittings. When an adjournment motion made under SO 15 and 16 is carried, Mr Speaker declares “That this Assembly do now adjourn”. The adjournment referred to in SO 17 is entirely different because it entitles Mr Speaker (with the support of the majority of members) to change the order of business of a meeting of the Assembly by permitting a “definite matter of urgent public importance” to be debated on an urgent basis. Thus SO 17 is not relevant for present purposes.

6. It appears as if no express SO gives Mr Speaker the power to recall the sitting of an Assembly that was adjourned by him, as occurred in November 2008. Because what was adjourned in November 2008 was only a sitting, and not a session, what is clear is that HRH’s power to summon does not at present arise because Article 36 (1) of the State Constitution refers to “one session” and the “next session”. If it is not a question of the discretion of HRH to summon a session, then by implication only, Mr Speaker has such power with regard to sittings and meetings of the Assembly. In the event of doubt regarding his power, Mr Speaker can rely on the residuary powers conferred on him under SO 90. Further, a decision or ruling by Mr Speaker on his power is final and not open to appeal pursuant to SO 43 and 89 : only a substantive motion passed in the House can review it.


7. SO 90 provides that when the Standing Orders are silent on any matter, Mr. Speaker may give directions, “and in giving such direction Mr. Speaker shall have regard to the usages of Commonwealth Parliamentary practice so far as such usages can be applied to the proceedings of the Assembly”. Accordingly, reliance can be made on the practice and procedure of the British Parliament, which is the mother of all Parliaments. Erskine May ’s Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament is the leading text on the subject in the Commonwealth. I have reviewed the relevant commentary in Chapter 13 in its 23rd Edition (2004).

8. According to the learned authors of Erskine May (all of whom are clerks of the House of Commons):-

“ ‘A Parliament’, in the sense of a parliamentary period, is a period not exceeding 5 years which may be regarded as a cycle beginning and ending with a proclamation.

A session is the period of time between the meeting of a Parliament, whether after a prorogation or a dissolution, and its prorogation. During the course of a session either House (Commons or Lords) may adjourn itself on its own motion to such date as it pleases. Sessions are of indeterminate length but …….usually run from October or November of one year to October or November of the next.

The period between the prorogation of Parliament and its reassembly in a new session is termed a ‘recess’, while the period between the adjournment of either House and the resumption of its sitting is properly called an ‘adjournment’ (although in practice the word ‘recess’ is generally used in this sense also). A prorogation terminates a session; an adjournment is an interruption in the course of a single session.”
(my emphasis)(See Page 272)

9. In a discussion under the caption “Prorogation and Adjournment”, Erskine May states:-

“The prorogation of Parliament is a prerogative act of the Crown. Just as Parliament can commence its deliberations only at the time appointed by the Queen, so it cannot continue them any longer than she pleases. But each House exercises its right to adjourn itself independently of the Crown and of the other House…
(my emphasis)(Page 274)

The difference between prorogation and adjournment becomes clearer from a practical perspective by considering their effect. The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all business, including committee proceedings, until Parliament is summoned again, and to end the sittings of Parliament. Further, all pending proceedings are quashed. An adjournment does not have the same effect on parliamentary proceedings as does a prorogation. Upon reassembling, each House proceeds to transact the business previously appointed, and all proceedings are resumed at the stage at which they were left before the adjournment. Erskine May also discusses the recall of Parliament during adjournment. “When Parliament is dispersed through the adjournment of both Houses its reassembly can be effected either by proclamation or under powers specifically conferred by each House on its Speaker”. (Page 277).

10. A similar distinction between prorogation and adjournment is made in Halsbury Laws of England (4th Ed, 1997 Reissue) in Vol. 34 : see Paragraphs 720 to 727. In Paragraph 720 under the heading “Power of each House to adjourn”, Halsbury states: “Each House of Parliament has the power to adjourn its sittings for any period of time to be determined by an Order of the House. Power is given by standing orders of the two Houses to the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker respectively, if they are satisfied that the public interest requires it, to summon the Houses to meet on an earlier date than that to which they have been adjourned”.
(my emphasis)

11. The practical advantages of an adjournment over a prorogation are discussed by Eric Taylor in “The House of Commons at Work” (9th Ed. 1979) as follows:-

“Since the beginning of the last war it has been thought better not to prorogue on 31st July, after all, but merely to adjourn the House for the summer, the reason being partly that it is more difficult to summon the House together again quickly after a prorogation, and during an adjournment the Speaker has power to summon it in case of emergency. This expedient was felt to be necessary during the uneasy war and post-war years. It is also useful to have a week or so after the Recess to clear up odd business. In any case the result was that the House was, and still is solemnly prorogue one day, and solemnly opened again by the Queen a day or two later, there being now no intervening Christmas holiday.

It may occur to the reader to ask why Parliament is prorogued at all, and why the House should not remain in Session from the time that it is elected until the time that it is dissolved, and a new Parliament is elected. The natural answer will be that Parliament likes to ‘clear its books’, just as a business firm clears its book at the end of a financial year. All Bills which have not reached the statute books by the end of the Session are killed automatically by prorogation. All notices of motions disappear from the Order Paper. It is a drastic but quite salutary process.”
(my emphasis)(Page 52)

12. These practical aspects are also considered in a leading British constitutional law text. In “Constitutional and Administrative Law” by de Smith and Brazier (8th Ed, 1998), the following commentary appears:-

“Sessions: prorogation and adjournment. It is the invariable custom for the life of a Parliament to be divided up into a number of sessions. These are usually of about one year’s duration, though there is no fixed practice……..;

……Nowadays the Commons sit for about 180 days altogether during a calendar year. Each House determines, on the Government’s initiative, on which dates it will adjourn and reassemble…….;

…..A session of Parliament is terminated by prorogation, a prerogative act; a short formal speech is made on behalf of the Queen, summarizing the work done during the session, and the Parliament stands prorogued till a named dated, which (unless prorogation precedes a dissolution) will be only a few days later, when a new session will be opened by the reading of the Queen’s speech…….;

…..The reason why Parliament is adjourned, instead of standing prorogued, in midsummer is strictly practical. In the first place, if it becomes necessary to recall a prorogued Parliament to deal with a matter of unexpected urgency, a royal proclamation has to be issued. It is simpler and may be more expeditious to reassemble an adjourned Parliament; this can be done by the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor acting on the Prime Minister’s quest…...”
(my emphasis)(Page 230)

13. It is thus plain and obvious that the Speaker in the elected House of the British Parliament, the House of Commons, has the discretion to recall the House during an adjournment, which is factually a different category from prorogation. Thus, the Speaker of the Perak Legislative Assembly is entitled under SO 90 to “have regard to the usages of Commonwealth Parliamentary practice”, in this case, the settled practice in the House of Commons, as to his own power to convene a sitting of the Assembly during adjournment.


For these reasons, in my opinion, Mr Speaker is lawfully empowered to convene the Fourth Sitting of the First Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly of Perak on 3rd March 2009.

Dated this 1st day of March, 2009.
Tommy Thomas

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mat Rempits in action at Parliament

Hisham stands by Youth members involved in scuffle

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says he will back the Umno Youth members who created a fracas in Parliament yesterday.
Saying that he would not apologise for their actions, he criticised DAP chairman Karpal Singh for being irresponsible and said that he would stand by his subordinates whether it was before a Parliamentary Privileges Committee or a court of law.

The Education Minister told reporters that those who had confronted Karpal yesterday said they would take full responsibility for their actions.
“If they are brought before the privileges committee, I will attend. Even if it is in court, I will be with them.
“We will defend our honour and our good name,” he said.

“Karpal is an MP who is irresponsible in playing with fire,” Hishammuddin said, calling the Bukit Gelugor MP’s assertions in Parliament that “Pemuda Umno Celaka (Damn Umno Youth)” had sent him live bullets a “wild accusation.”

Hishammuddin, who is also Barisan Nasional Youth chief, said that those statements and Karpal’s “insults to the Malay rulers,” a reference to Karpal’s insistence that he could bring the Perak sultan to court over the change in government in the state, made “not just the youth angry, but citizens at large and myself.”

He accused Karpal of “hiding behind the immunity of Dewan Rakyat” and said that was playing with fire as it still had an effect on the grassroots and if allowed to spread, would turn into a racial issue which can be exploited.

Hishammuddin also said that the issue of apologising does not arise as it was Karpal who had provoked them. Furthermore, he said he was not personally responsible for the incident.
“I had no role in the incident. I had no idea they would do it and never issued any such order,” he said.

He added that the actions of a few Umno Youth members did not reflect that of the entire wing nor that of BN Youth in general and that the incident should not be blown out of proportion and the tension allowed to dissipate instead.

FEB 28 — One tends to make a mistake when doing something in a hurry. That was what happened to Umno. The unholy haste to topple the PR government in Perak has now landed the party in uncharted waters. The side effect is a constitutional impasse.

It all started when Umno forgot about the speaker. Greedy with power, Umno overlooked the importance of the speaker. Their focus was mainly directed to the three former Pakatan state assemblymen. What they failed to realise is that without the speaker on their side they would be facing the greatest obstacle to convene the assembly.

In a non-military coup, the role of speaker is extremely significant. Failure to take into account the role of the speaker is seriously fatal. Now Umno has felt the pinch due to its own ignorance on the role of the speaker.

Umno might have thought that the speaker had nothing to do with the process of ousting Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, thus toppling the legitimate PR government. Thus they concentrated their effort elsewhere. They mainly focused on how to convince the Sultan of Perak to force Nizar’s resignation.

What Umno failed to realise is that the speaker is not akin to Umno’s permanent chairman (pengerusi tetap). If Umno holds that view the party definitely has committed a very serious and grave error. Any government which follows a Westminster model should know very well how important the role of a speaker is particularly when there is an attempt to overthrow a government via a vote of no confidence. In a political coup like what happened in Perak the speaker is a kingpin.

When the speaker started to exert his power and flex his muscles i.e by suspending Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six exco members, Umno began to concede its foolhardiness. Zambry had to turn to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for assistance. The latter however prescribed a wrong medicine by advising Zambry to lodge a police report. One wonders what business the police have when the matter involves the speaker’s prerogative and constitutional interpretation. Never in history has the police been brought in to investigate the speaker’s power. The constitutional turmoil is beyond the purview of the police domain.

Zambry, I believe, knew very well it was a sheer stupidity to bring the police in. However he and other Umno members have grown up with an embedded culture of blind loyalty to their leaders. It was immaterial, as far as Zambry is concerned, whether Pak Lah gave correct or wrong advice with regard to lodging a police report. Umno’s motto: whenever the higher up says we have to follow blindly. Thus the emergence of 19 reports against V. Sivakumar, the speaker.

If Abdullah had taken pains to get proper legal advice, he surely would have known about the existence of the following laws dealing with the immunity of the speaker, namely the Legislative Assembly (Privileges) Enactment 1959 and Article 72 of the Federal Constitution respectively. These two laws protect the speaker from any civil suit and criminal prosecution whenever he discharges his official duty.

It is submitted that the issue whether the decision of the speaker was legally correct or not does not arise in this matter. The laws,enacted by the BN government, conferred him immunity. The speaker’s decision, unless set aside or quashed by a court of law, was legally valid and binding on Zambry and his six exco members. Non-compliance with the decision of the legitimate speaker is at Zambry’s own peril.

It is axiomatic that almost all countries in the world including Third World countries confer immunity to the speakers of Parliament or the state assembly. There are a plethora of decided cases which show that the speaker’s powers cannot be challenged in any court of law. As far as the court is concerned, the power of the speaker is non-justiciable. It is better to share the following authority with Umno.

In James Eki Mopio vs Speaker of Parliament [1977] PNGLR 420, the case concerned the appointment of Michael Somare as the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea following the general election. James Eki Mopio, the plaintiff, who was a member of the National Parliament, contended that the requirements of s142(4) of the Constitution were not complied with, and on that ground sought a declaration that the appointment of the prime minister was null and void and that a new election of prime minister should have been ordered..

Section 142(4) of the Constitution provides as follows: “(4) If the Parliament is not in session when a Prime Minister is to be appointed, the Speaker shall immediately call a meeting of the Parliament, and the question of the appointment shall be the first matter for consideration, after any formal business and any nomination of a Governor-General or appointment of a Speaker, on the next sitting day.”

Mopio contended that that section went further than to prescribe the order of business for the next sitting day after the meeting of Parliament had been called, and required that the election of the prime minister was to be conducted on the day following the appointment of the speaker.
Mopio also submitted that the section was mandatory and not merely directory so that non-compliance would have the effect in law of invalidating the appointment.
After Mopio outlined his case , a preliminary objection was taken by Pokwari Kale on behalf of the speaker that what Mopio was seeking to do was to litigate before the court the question whether a procedure prescribed for the Parliament had been complied with, and that such a question, there being no special provision in a constitutional law to the contrary, was non-justiciable — Constitution, s. 134. So far as Mopio’s reliance on a breach of the Standing Orders was concerned, Kale submitted that as such orders concerned the order and conduct of Parliament’s business and proceedings that matter also was non-justiciable. (Constitution, ss. 133, 134)

The Supreme Court, in dismissing the suit filed by Mopio, held that the matters concerned with the conduct of the business of Parliament and its procedure. Accordingly as the issues before the court involved the question whether that procedure had been complied with, and also the exercise of the freedom of proceedings of Parliament and the functions and duties of the speaker, the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Zambry now realises that lodging a police report was not a wise move. Such a move made him a laughing stock. He has to switch to another viable option. Thus came the idea of consulting the QC. Money is not a problem to him. For Pakatan leaders engaging a QC is a reflection of a colonial mentality plus a waste of money. However since when Umno really cares about spending a huge sum of money for its political survival?

What is interesting about this Perak fiasco is that despite the collapse of the PR government the office of Pakatan’s speaker remains intact. And the most fascinating fact is that even the Sultan has no power to remove the speaker. He was appointed by the state assembly, thus the removal must also come from the latter unless he resigns or no longer holds office as an assemblyman.

Since the speaker has not lost his office it follows that he still possesses very vast powers in so far as the business of state assembly is concerned. He has inter alia very wide powers to suspend any state assemblymen as he did to Zambry and the six BN exco members. As far as the “three stooges” (don’t tell me you don’t know who they are) are concerned they are no longer assemblymen. The speaker has already made a ruling that their resignations were valid and constitutional under Article 35 of Perak’s Constitution. Even if they consider themselves assemblymen they only represent the Elections Commission and not the rakyat of their respective constituency.

Umno may be proud that the Sultan has backed it in ousting the Pakatan government of Perak.
But what transpires now seems to suggest that the life of the BN government is hinging now on the speaker of the PR government which it unjustifiably ousted via undemocratic means.

*This Article from Mohamed Hanipa Maidin is the Pas legal adviser. He is also a lawyer.*