Tag Archives: Democracy
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese government is throwing up obstacles to prevent the National League for Democracy (NLD) from booking sports stadiums for campaign rallies by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
NLD campaign manager Nyan Win told a press conference on Monday in Rangoon that government sports minister Tint San is disrupting the NLD electoral campaign because the ministry will not allow access to book football stadiums, which are necessary to hold the large crowds that Suu Kyi attracts wherever she campaigns.
Government officials have repeatedly claimed that the April 1 by-election would be free and fair, a specific requirement sought by the international community prior to removing sanctions on the military-dominated government which says it is moving toward democracy. The NLD party is contesting for 48 seats in the by-election, and Suu Kyi said she plans to campaign across the country.
NLD spokesperson Ohn Kyaing said Suu Kyi wanted to deliver a speech at Pyapon Stadium in Irrawaddy Region on February 17, but the Sports Ministry would not make the stadium available and she was forced to deliver her speech at Thelgwin on the outskirts of Pyapon.
Talking about the ministry’s actions, Suu Kyi said in her speech in Thelgwin that such actions will damage the government’s credibility, especially with the international community which is carefully monitoring the by-election campaign.
The ministry also sent the NLD a letter rejecting its request to speak on February 15 at the Hlegu Football Stadium in Rangoon Region. Suu Kyi was permitted to use the stadium after the Union Election Commission (UEC) mediated between the two sides. A similar case involved Suu Kyi’s trip to Pathein in Irrawaddy Region in the first week of February, Ohn Kyaing told Mizzima.
On February 4, Suu Kyi was forced to postpone her planned campaign trip to Mandalay because the authorities said the Myanmar Football Federation refused to rent the Bahtoo football stadium for a speech.
The NLD applied on February 17 to the Mandalay Region Sports Department to use the stadium located near Mandalay Mountain, but the authorities did not reply, said Myo Naing, an NLD official from Mandalay Region.
The UEC has been informed about the issue, but so far it has not taken any preventive action, said Ohn Kyaing.
Minister Tint San is the owner of A.C.E Construction Company. In the 2010 general elections, he won a Lower House seat in Myaungmya Township as a Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate. In March 2011, he resigned to become Minister of Hotels and Tourism and Sports Minister.
In the April 1 by-election, Dr. Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, a son of Minister Tint San, is a candidate for a seat in the Myaungmya Township constituency. The NLD candidate is Mann Johnny.
Meanwhile, at the NLD press conference on Monday, Nyan Win said Upper House MP Dr. Myat Nyar Na Soe has resigned from the National Democratic Force to become an NLD member.
By Tommy Thomas
I HAVE been asked to advise whether the Speaker of the Perak legislative assembly was entitled in law to convene the legislative assembly on 3 March 2009.
Ultimately, the issue turns on whether the last meeting of the assembly in November 2008 was prorogued (“diberhentikan”) or adjourned (“ditangguhkan”). If it was prorogued, only the Sultan of Perak 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.
The state constitution of Perak
The starting point in the analysis is the Laws of the Constitution of Perak, 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:
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.
The Standing Orders
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 23 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 three terms would indicate that a meeting is the shortest period, followed by a sitting, while a session is of the longest duration.
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:
Adjournment is the subject matter of three Standing Orders.
Pursuant to SO 15 and 16, upon a motion for adjournment after the completion of all business in a sitting, the 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, the Speaker declares “that this Assembly do now adjourn”.
The adjournment referred to in SO 17 is entirely different because it entitles the 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.
It appears as if no express SO gives the 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 the Sultan’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 the Sultan to summon a session, then by implication only, the Speaker has such power with regard to sittings and meetings of the assembly. In the event of doubt regarding his power, the Speaker can rely on the residuary powers conferred on him under SO 90. Further, a decision or ruling by the 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.
The British practice
SO 90 provides that when the Standing Orders are silent on any matter, the Speaker may give directions, “and in giving such direction, [the] 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).
According to the learned authors of Erskine May (all of whom are clerks of the House of Commons):
In a discussion under the caption Prorogation and Adjournment, Erskine May states:
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.” (p. 277)
A similar distinction between prorogation and adjournment is made in Halsbury Laws of England (4th Ed., 1997 Reissue) in Vol. 34, paragraphs 720 to 727.
In Paragraph 720 under the heading Power of each House to adjourn, Halsbury states:
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:
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:
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, the Speaker is lawfully empowered to convene the fourth sitting of the first session of the 12th legislative assembly of Perak on 3 March 2009.
1 March 2009
Perak ruined after Najib took over as UMNO Perak Chairman, imagine what will happen if he elected as UMNO President… hahahaha…
I did not monitor closely on the bn component parties general assemblies, but I cannot close my eyes and say nothing. I have to share something which I feel need to. After all, this is my country…
It is so interesting and surprisingly to notice that those who are clearly convicted of having various scandals, and their moral are questionable still got position within the parties and being nominated for better and higher posts.
Love is blind but political members are blindest (hahaha… check it in dictionary)
In MCA, someone who even had a “CD terlampau” and he himself confirmed it is him now holding a very strategic position. I’m not so sure if our Chinese friends are not sensitive in this kind of ethic collision or they are also being fooled by the leaders.
In MIC,another “CD terlampau” was also circulated but the person acting in the CD is getting more support than it should be – amazing – just like what we watch in Bollywood sequence.
In UMNO, someone who had stepped down due to some moral mischief had been nominated for better position. By the way, the man that had been send to the jail due to the matter had now become a Chief Minister in some other state.
Again in UMNO, someone who had put himself in trouble with a waitress and being investigated by the police and the news being published widely in local newspapers once again stand tall as some “akar umbi umno” (grassroots) still look high on him.
Even someone, who was caught right-handed by police not in Malaysia for money siphon was confirmed on the race.
Pity, how the rakyat (bn members) still couldn’t see the fox with chicken feathers (musang berbulu ayam) as fox. They still see it as chicken…
On the other hand, DAP is learning faster than UMNO on Amar Maaruf Nahi Mungkar… (in simple word – do good things and at the same time stop the bad things)
PETALING JAYA: Ahli Parlimen Seputeh, Teresa Kok dibebaskan daripada tahanan Akta Keselamatan dalam Negeri (ISA) tengah hari tadi.
Peguam Teresa, Sankara Nair berkata, beliau dibebaskan kira-kira pukul 1 tengah hari tadi.
“Saya baru bercakap dengan beliau (Teresa). Sebab-sebab beliau dibebaskan belum dimaklumkan kepada saya,” katanya ketika dihubungi mStar Online sebentar tadi.
Sankara dikatakan telah pun mengambil Teresa di Balai Polis Jalan Travers, Brickfileds.
Teresa merupakan individu kedua yang ditahan di bawah ISA pada Jumaat lalu selain penulis laman berita Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Kamaruddin dan wartawan Sin Chew Daily, Tan Hoon Cheng.
Menurut Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, dalam sidang medianya pada Sabru lalu, Teresa ditahan di bawah ISA berhubung kenyataan beliau yang meminta laungan azan pada waktu pagi dihentikan.
Teresa sebelum ini dikatakan akan ditahan selama 28 hari untuk disoal siasat.