Monday, 24 January 2011 – (Malaysia Chronicle)
Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali, chairman of the Selangor backbenchers club, warned Umno lawmakers they would be committing treason if they refused to support the Pakatan Rakyat’s proposed amendments to the state constitution.
The PKR deputy president said the amendments would right the wrong done to the state in 1993, when former chief minister Khir Toyo had allowed ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad to transfer away the authority of the Sultan and chief minister to pick the state’s top civil servants. The power to appoint these key leaders are now vested with the federal government.
“It is clear that it is Umno who is being treacherous. If they don’t support this bill, aren;t they committing treason, what excuse can they have not to return this respect to the Sultan and to the people of Selangor,” Azmin shot out during debate of the motion in the state legislature.
His fiery oratory and articulate delivery lit up the session which had earlier seen poor reasoning and rationalizing from Umno lawmakers depress the standard of the debate.
“Selangor people will remember forever that it is Umno who damaged and sank the royal institution,” warned Azmin.
Differences in the quality of debate
There were also many entertaining and humorous exchanges that poked fun at Mahathir. Azmin described Mahathir as “Mamak Bendahara”, which prompted many Umno lawmakers to jump up in dramatic protest at what they perceived to be a racial slur. Mamak is slang for Indian Muslim.
But Azmin explained that Mamak Bendara was actually a “classic” Malay term for prime minister, drawing loud laughter from the packed gallery.
“If you don’t even know terms used in classic Malay, how can you even begin to object?” Azmin told the House.
But despite the Pakatan’s superiority in the debate, they are unlikely to be able to ram through the amendments. The coalition of PAS, PKR and DAP have only 35 seats in the 56-seat legislature. The amendments require two-thirds majority, and Umno which controls the remaining 21 seats, has already announced that it would not support the bill.
“We called for the assembly as a matter of principle. The people of Selangor, the Pakatan administration and the Sultan are being cheated out of their fundamentals rights due to a shameful collusion in 1993,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
“Here is a chance for Umno to repent for what they did to the Sultan and the people Selangor. If they insist on being stubborn, once and for all, they are showing their true colours. Who are traitors, it is now very clear for the whole country to see.”