Azhar to face privileges committee over May 13 threat
Malaysiakini May 6, 2010
Pandemonium erupted in the Penang state legislative assembly today when opposition leader Azhar Ibrahim warned that there would be a repeat of the May 13 riots if the people lost confidence in the authorities.
Commenting on the public criticism over the police shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, Azhar (left) said that the army can take over from the police if the later does not enjoy public support.
He lambasted Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s constant criticism of Umno, which has three million members, for being corrupt.
Azhar also accused Lim of being anti-Malay and anti-Islamic for his attacks against Umno and Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“This is an insult to the Malays, don’t you think that there will be no Malay gangsters, or the Barisan Tiga silat group, who will come here and teach those who utter these words a lesson?” he threatened.
“And if you continue to insult the police and its chief, then let’s ask the army to take over,” he added.
This was followed by scores of demands from Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons for Azhar to withdraw his statement, to which he obliged.
A motion was, nevertheless, later passed to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee for uttering seditious words and inciting ill-will among different races.
Azhar will go before the powerful committee on charges of seeking “to forment rebellion through his seditious remarks” and “to create hatred and hostility among the races”.
Government to lodge police report
Outside the hall, Lim slammed Umno for rejecting democracy with its call for the interference of the army.
“They have issued threats and even mentioned May 13 while slamming the table repetitively,” said Lim, at an emergency press conference after his winding-up speech.
Lim (right) added that it was unfair of Umno to link criticisms against BN to criticisms against Malays.
“Why do they have to resort to this action simply because they cannot debate; they do not have facts compared with us,” he added.
“We see this as a very dangerous development, especially when these threats are made public.”
Lim said the state will lodge a police report against Azhar for his ‘dangerous’ utterances in the assembly.
The state opposition leader, who could face suspension from the assembly, has downplayed the charges.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “I spoke in that manner after Umno and BN were labelled as corrupt, autocratic and I am willing to face anyone, even in court.”
Azhar clarified that he mentioned May 13 as a response to the state’s total loss of confidence in all government agencies, including the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“Everyone’s wrong – police, MACC, Umno – only they (Pakatan) is right.
“How can Umno which has ruled for 52 years in this country be deemed a gangster and corrupted?” asked a visibly peeved Azhar.
“We do not want it (May 13) to happen but if the situation is not controlled, it will happen again, especially when all races are angry,” he added.
Musa not fit to be IGP
The assembly, into its fourth day, was already abuzz with a heated argument between Lim and Azhar before the motion referring the opposition leader to the privileges committee was passed.
The argument which lasted for about 30 minutes, started when Lim (DAP-Air Putih) was winding up debate on a motion of thanks to the Yang Dipertua Negeri Abdul Rahman Abbas.
Azhar said since the Pakatan-led state government did not recognise the police force, he had suggested that the army take over the duties of ensuring law and order in the country.
Lim said DAP only deemed that Musa was not fit to be the federal police chief and that did not mean DAP does not respect the police force for their services.
“It is not wrong for us to criticise Musa Hassan (left) because to us, he is not eligible to be the police chief.
“The latest issue of police shooting and killing a 15-year-old, Aminulrasyid (Amzah) is another case in point,” he said.
Meanwhile, to another question by Azhar, Lim said the government awarded Taiyo (KL) Resorts Sdn Bhd the tender to manage the Bukit Jambul Golf Club because the company had offered a high price that would benefit the state government.
“Although it is a foreign-based company, the deal will benefit the state government,” said Lim in response to Azhar who wanted to know why the tender was not awarded to a local company.
This is not the first time that Azhar has sparked a ruckus in the assembly.
He was ordered to leave the House twice last December – the first time for making disparaging remarks against a PKR representative and later for ‘showing his behind’ in the assembly.
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