The book launches 1212 (that’s tomorrow) at 4pm. Meet the protagonists (politicians, contributors, writers and lawyers[LB]) at the LoyarBurokking session. Here, we prove ourselves right that there is indeed the Lord Bobo. Finally, after much persuasion, our editor-at-large (and an in-house banking legal counsel bigwig) gives us the lowdown on the book. And its her inaugural post for this awesome blawg. See ya tomorrow!
The book by LoyarBurok is a collection of 20 articles regarding the Perak constitutional crisis that was triggered by the resignation of 3 Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers from their respective parties in February 2009. The 3 Assemblypersons claimed to become “Independents” and shifted their allegiance in the State Legislative Assembly from Pakatan to Barisan Nasional. The Election Commission refused to declare the 3 seats vacant and call for by-elections, although the Speaker of the Assembly had letters stating their resignation from their constituent seats.
Instead of dissolving the Assembly and calling for fresh State elections, the Sultan of Perak declared that the Pakatan Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, had lost his majority support, and appointed a Barisan Nasional Menteri Besar instead, Zambry Ab Kadir. This, together with a series of other controversial events, led to a state of chaos in Perak which lasted for a good year, and which is still on-going with the decision of one lawsuit pending. We witnessed unprecedented events – gatherings by citizens and voters of the State, the Speaker of the Assembly being physically dragged out of the building, and the first ever Assembly session under a tree (now iconically termed the “Democracy Tree”). This sparked off several highly-publicised and debated lawsuits that continue to reverberate till today.
The articles in the book are drawn from a wide range of writers – activists, academics and lawyers (including a couple that were involved in the actual cases!), even a greatly respected former judge. They cover a range of themes, from wickedly funny remarks on the antics of the parties involved to serious discussions on the intricate legal niceties of the crisis. A majority of the articles have a tongue-in-cheek flavour that is the hallmark of LoyarBurok, as the articles first appeared on www.LoyarBurok.com as blawg posts, many written in real-time as and soon after events took place.
Whilst mostly contemporary – Chapter 17 ends with NH Chan summing up his thoughts on the Federal Court’s decision in the primary MB v MB case – the last 3 articles were specially commissioned for the book and written independently of each other. These are collected closing remarks post-crisis, a summary of the opinions of 3 eminent law professors; Andrew Harding, Kevin YL Tan and Shad Saleem Faruqi, and is being published for the first time.
This opportunity lends a wider voice to the book, intended to be objectively presented despite the sometimes polemic tones of some authors. There is also a special “Perak Crisis Timeline” which was written by Deborah Loh, and which LoyarBurok has turned into a full blow-by-blow account of the major events, to provide a guide to newcomers to the crisis. A more condensed version was produced into a poster, that comes free with and is attached to the book, for easy perusal.
Finally, the publisher has provided, through a selection of photographs, a pictorial glimpse at the happenings in Perak during the time of the crisis. These are intentionally uncurated, with no labels or captions, as the editorial team believed them to be particularly penetrating, poignant moments – they need no further explanation to the reader.
The book is a chronicle that has been commended by some key personalities in Malaysia, and whilst an eclectic collection of voices, was put together as a purposeful record of the entire crisis. Kevin YL Tan, a law professor at the NUS who was invited to contribute, has said that it will likely become recommended reading for students, and University Malaya professor Dr. Azmi Sharom has echoed such sentiments in an unqualified endorsement that it should be required reading for constitutional law students throughout the country.
In line with LoyarBurok‘s objectives, we intend that the book be available and readily accessible to laypersons and law aficionados alike – in essence, anyone who cares at all about the state of things in Malaysia! … erm, pun not intended.
Audrey used to slave for an international law firm in Malaysia, dishing out advice on how to minimise contributions to the Malaysian Treasury. Before being enticed away to the little red dot by a German investment bank to negotiate derivatives and other non-existent whatchamacallits, Lord Bobo convinced her she should perform national service through carrying out difficult, and sometimes impossible, projects for LoyarBurok. This is one of them. As none of the proceeds of this book will ever end up with her, she is remunerated with drinks at the Lake Club whenever she happily finds herself home.
[LB] Collectively, members of the legal team who acted in various cases and capacities for Nizar and Sivakumar throughout the Perak Crisis were: Sulaiman b. Abdullah, Tommy Thomas, Nga Hock Cheh, Philip Koh Tong Ngee, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Chan Kok Keong, Mohamad Asri b. Othman, Ranjit Singh s/o Harbinder Singh, Razlan Hadri b. Zulkifli, Mohamed Hanipa bin Maidin, Augustine a/l Anthony, Leong Cheok Keng, Mohammad Yunus bin Mohd @ Ahmad Ali, Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Yap Boon Hau, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Mahaletchumi Balakrishnan, Zulqarnain bin Lukman, Cheong Sek Kwan, Joanne Leong Pooi Yaen, Jason Tay Yew Chong, Grace Wong Phui Mun, Abigail Lim Ern Tze and Ngoi Evon.