How Khalid keeps people’s power alive
It may seem mad to say this, but Khalid Ibrahim, in what he has been doing, is a reformer: he has kept alive the will and voice of the people, and kept alive the spirit and practice of constitutional representative democracy, the same spirit and practice so seriously wounded in Perak 2009.
By calmly following the constitution and his powers under the constitution, Khalid is rejecting the extra-constitutional dirty dealings that saw the fall of the PAS-led coalition government in Perak in 2009 through defections and a direct appeal to the Sultan.
The late Sultan Azlan Shah removed his menteri besar because somebody came from KL and showed him letters to say several assembly members had switched sides. The Federal Court, wrongly, later upheld the sultan’s decision; it also said a vote in the state assembly was not necessary and that support for a head of government could be shown by other means.
Those decisions go against our democracy, which is based on the people electing representatives. The sultan and the court allowed outsiders, people not part of the process, to side-step the elected state assembly, where the people are represented, and thus side-step the voice and will of the people.
The supreme law, the constitution, gives the people’s representatives the power to remove the head of government. Going directly to the sultan is going outside the constitution: he is the last resort, taken only in extreme or extraordinary circumstances when the voice of the people cannot be heard, there is deadlock in administration, or there is public disorder.
No such conditions existed in Perak then, no such extreme conditions exist in Selangor today.
The next constitutional step is asking the people’s representatives to decide. This was not taken. Instead a party leader took a short-cut straight to the sultan. Now in Selangor, PKR are also trying the short-cut even before the people’s voice is heard in the assembly.
Party leaders try to usurp people’s power
What’s the point of representative democracy then? Why is Pakatan Rakyat trying to side-step the assembly?
Instead, the sultan is made to listen to the voice of the party.
Power belongs to the people, not to the party or party leaders who were never elected by the people.The people must decide on Khalid, either indirectly through the state assembly, or directly through another election.
This can be done in a simple and straight-forward way. The Speaker can call a meeting of the assembly. The Speaker is Hannah Yeoh who also happens to be a member of the DAP. She has the power.
But that has not been done.
Wakil Rakyat must not become Wakil Parti
Instead, party leaders of PKR and DAP are saying: we tell the wakil rakyat what to do. We decide.
This must not be allowed.
Members of the state assembly are wakil rakyat. They are not wakil parti. They took an oath to serve the people and to uphold the constitution. When they step into the chamber, they shed their outside personalities and become YB Sungai Burung or YB Kampung Tunku, or YB of any other constituency.
Now they have stopped pretending they are YB Wakil Rakyat. They have shown that they are YB Wakil Parti.The state assembly, paid for from the public purse, is not the Dewan Parti Keadilan Rakyat; it is not the Dewan Pakatan Rakyat; it is the Dewan Negeri, the dewan rakyat negeri Selangor.
That is why it is Khalid Ibrahim, and the Sultan of Selangor, who by their actions so far have upheld the spirit of the constitution and constitutional democracy.
Khalid Ibrahim can only be sacked by the people, and only through the state assembly, because that is where the representatives of the people gather. The Selangor sultan has upheld Khalid’s right to continue until further developments, because the state assembly has not shown, so far, that Khalid has lost their support.
There is still a functioning state government in place until further developments, through Khalid and four executive councillors after Khalid removed five unsupportive executive councillors (one more resigned); the sultan’s consent is usually a formality because the constitution gives implied power to the menteri besar to appoint and remove members of the Exco.
Khalid also removed municipal councillors appointed by political parties. He has now opened those positions to the general public — in a small way, a re-affirmation of people’s democracy, and a re-affirmation of the need for local council elections.
Why are they avoiding a vote in the house?
By not seeking or appointing any members of the opposition (in Selangor, that means Umno members) to the executive council, Khalid has maintained a semblance of a Pakatan Rakyat government until further developments.
So it is Khalid and the sultan, aided by four executive councillors who, so far, have kept the spirit and essence of the democratic process alive, preserving the voice and will of the people by not taking the double-dealing Perak route.
Now the the voice of the people must be heard, through their representatives in the Dewan Negeri, on vote to see if Khalid has the support of the house.
The people should not allow only the voice of the party to be heard.
Why won’t the parties take the next step? Why are they trying to go to the streets?
Why won’t they ask for a vote on the floor of the people’s house? It is the right thing to do.