IPOH, Sept 2 — Police arrested three Perak lawmakers this morning, including state DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham, as they forcibly blocked a group of Pakatan Rakyat representatives from entering the state secretariat building here to convene a state assembly sitting.
The PR lawmakers, including Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who was ousted by Barisan Nasional (BN) in a power grab, were engaged in a scuffle with riot police before eventually dispersing.
Besides Ngeh, others arrested included Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai; Malaim Nawar representative Keshvinder Singh, who was kicked by policemen; and a Nanyang Siangpau photographer.
Three other members of the public, believed to be PR supporters, were also detained.
Police had rolled out barbed wire and placed riot police with water cannons around the Perak state assembly, brandishing a court order barring assemblies within 30 metres of the area.
PR lawyers had tried in vain this morning to set aside the court order, but could not obtain an appointment with any magistrate.
Witnesses said five FRU trucks, two jeeps and two water cannons with phalanxes of riot police in full gear were guarding against a Pakatan Rakyat attempt to hold an assembly sitting.
PR Speaker V. Sivakumar had called for the sitting six months — as required by law — after the last sitting that was forced to be held under a rain tree.
Speaking to reporters, he said he would invoke the doctrine of necessity to hold the state assembly sitting at Heritage Hotel nearby.
Metal barricades have been put across all roads leading to the state assembly, which is housed within the state secretariat.
Police also parked six trucks, one van and several unmarked cars near the Perak DAP headquarters down the road.
Sivakumar tried unsuccessfully to get a court order barring the state secretary from preventing the assembly.
He went to court at 8am today to quash the police ban, which was plastered around the state assembly area. The ban is from 1am today until 11am tomorrow.
The Pakatan Rakyat government fell last February when three lawmakers quit to turn independent in the 59-seat assembly, locking both Pakatan and Barisan Nasional with 28 lawmakers each.
The Perak ruler asked Pakatan mentri besar Nizar to quit the post but he refused, saying only the state assembly could force his resignation.
The Sultan also rejected Nizar’s advice to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections, and instead named BN’s Pangkor assemblyman Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new mentri besar.