Tuesday, March 17, 2009

City Council serves notice to a tree

IPOH, March 14 2009— The Ipoh City Council has now taken its turn to fuss over Perak’s democracy plaque, claiming that the structure was an obstruction in a public area. [The Malaysian Insider]

Idiocy knows no boundaries. That was the case for the Ipoh City Council when they issued a notice to a 'tree' for illegally erecting a plaque which the council claimed was causing public obstruction. This bizarre incident marks history's first as tree was issued a municipal notice. In Malaysia, notices from city councils are usually addressed to humans.

The tree was dubbed the "Democracy Tree" for its role in history when 28 Perak state assemblymen held the country's first emergency state assembly under a tree after being denied entry into the State Secretariat by the police on March 3. A plaque was then constructed under the tree to commemorate the historic event but was recently damaged by vandals.

Despite being locked out of the State Assembly building, the emergency sitting managed to pass three votes – expressing their confidence in Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar; calling on Nizar to seek a dissolution of the state assembly; and endorsing Sivakumar’s suspension of Zambry and the de facto BN executive council.

All 28 assemblymen, including Pakatan Rakyat's ousted menteri besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin and Speaker V Sivakumar, are currently being probed by the police for their 'illegal assembly' under the tree. For all that it's worth, an assembly may be held under a tree because there is no no law against it as long as it was the Speaker's decision to convene an emergency sitting. How could the police view a gathering of state assemblymen as an 'illegal assembly' was baffling. In fact, barring state representatives from their duties by sealing the entire state secretariat would poise the greater crime in this case, would it not?

However, the biggest joke was with the Ipoh City Council who pinned a notice on the “Democracy Tree” , informing the 'owner' of the plaque to remove the monument within 24 hours before it gets destroyed. The 'owner', of course, was the 'tree'.

According the to council, the structure posed an obstruction to the public and hence contravened Section 46(1)(a) of the Road, Drainage and Building Ordinance 1974. The plaque was finally removed on March 16.

Next: Stray dogs to get eviction notices.

Before and after: The vandalised plaque under the foliage of the green offender. (images from http://blog.limkitsiang.com)