Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Perak 'assembly': Pakatan convenes meeting in hotel, 3 reps arrested

IPOH: Pakatan Rakyat managed to 'convene' a meeting of the state legislative assembly at the Heritage Hotel Wednesday.

Its 27 assemblymen, led by former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, had arrived at the state secretariat building at 9am but were not allowed in by police who were armed with a court order to stop any gathering within a 30m radius of the building.

Police detained six people, including Sitiawan assemblyman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, Malim Nawar assemblyman Keshvinder Singh and Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai.

Former Speaker V. Sivakumar presided at the sitting at the hotel.

In the morning, Pakatan's lawyer Chan Kok Keong had rushed to the magistrate's court to secure an order to set aside an earlier order that banned any gathering outside the state assembly building.

Here is an account of what transpired:

01.37am: The sitting is adjourned by Sivakumar after proposal from Mohd Nizar until further notice.

11.45am: “Dewan sitting” begins with entry of Sivakumar into the “hall”, which is actually a function room at the hotel. Sivakumar now presiding. All Pakatan state assemblymen turn up except for those arrested and Titi Serong assemblyman Dr Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah who is performing the umrah. There are three items on the agenda that will be debated.

11.00am: Mohd Nizar, Sivakumar and several assemblymen are trying to enter FRU headquarters at Sungai Senam to meet arrested representatives.

10.30am: Former speaker V. Sivakumar says they will go ahead and hold state assembly meeting at the Heritage Hotel at 11.30am. He says that he has to invoke the doctrine of necessity because they were barred from entering the building.

10.20am: Besides Ngeh, Keshvinder and photographer Tan, Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai and two supporters are also arrested. Representatives proceed back to DAP headquarters where a press conference is held.

Mohd Nizar continues to reiterate that police court order only applies to supporters and representatives cannot be stopped from entering state assembly hall.

He adds that they did not call for a gathering but for a state assembly meeting to be held.

10.13am: Malim Nawar assemblyman Keshvinder Singh is arrested. Mohd Nizar tells state representatives to disperse.

10.07am: Ngeh is arrested by police.

10.00am: Police and Pakatan representatives face off 100m outside state secretariat building. Shouting and shoving ensues. A Nanyang Siang Pau photographer Stanley Tan is arrested.

Argument persists. Former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin and Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham have a shouting match with police.

Ngeh argues that police court order only for supporters as Section 24 of the Penal Code states that no representative can be stopped from entering state assembly hall.

Ngeh also says that the order obtained under section 98 of the Criminal Procedure Code has to first be gazetted under Section 90. Police admit that the order has not been gazetted but continue to push them back.

09.45am: Pakatan representatives start marching towards the state secretariat building from the Perak DAP headqurters.

8.00am: Pakatan Rakyat's lawyer Chan Kok Keong is at the magistrate's court to secure the order to set aside the magistrates court order on Tuesday which granted the police the right to stop any gathering within 30m radius of the Perak state secretariat building fence perimeter, including Jln Istana stretching to Poi Lam school, from 1am Wednesday to 11am Thursday.

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