unexpected but now what? we have 2 MBs, 2 Speakers

Hidup rakyat Perak! High Court rules in favour of Nizar

Monday, 11 May 2009

By SK English News

The KL High Court has ruled in favour of Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin in the lawsuit he filed against Umno leader Zambry Kadir for wrongfully and illegally usurping his position as chief minister of Perak after a coup d’etat orchestrated by Prime Minister Najib Razak three months ago.

“The High Court’s decision is that Nizar is still the rightful Menteri Besar based on the Constitution. Nizar never faced a vote of no-confidence by the state assembly,” said Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim who delivered the judgment.

His verdict has sparked a tidal wave of cheers and jubilation across the state and the rest of the country. For three full and painful months, both Perakians and Malaysians have suffered as Najib’s Umno-BN refused to respect the wishes of the Perak people for fresh election to re-determine their leaders.

“Hidup rakyat Perak! Nizar MB sah,” said Tian Chua, Keadilan strategic affairs director. “Let us now pray that the PM will honour the court’s decision and not throw in obstacles at all costs to block Nizar’s return. We also hope that the Sultan will recognise the ruling and more importantly the wishes of his subjects.”

Even AG conceded that Sultan could not sack or dismiss Nizar

On Feb 13, Nizar had filed for a judicial review application and sought a declaration that he is the rightful MB. He also wanted the court to declare that the Feb 6 appointment of Zambry by the Sultan of Perak was unconstitutional.

His counsel argued that on Feb 4, Nizar he had sought an audience with the Sultan to dissolve the 59-seat Perak state assembly, which was deadlocked with the Pakatan Rakyat and Umno-BN having 28 seats each.

The status of three former Pakatan assemblymen were in question at that point in time as the Speaker of the assembly had ruled that they had resigned and their seats vacated.

Nizar also wanted the Sultan to give the voters the opportunity to elect a new government to bring about political stability. He advised the Sultan to dissolve the assembly, which is withing his right as the reigning MB under Article 36(2) of the Perak constitution.

Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah also that a Menteri Besar or Chief Minister of a state could not be dismissed from office as the head of government does not hold office at the pleasure of the Head of State or the Sultan.

He said the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister could be removed only through a vote of no confidence in the state assembly. He cited the principle outlined in the case of Stephen Kalong Ningkan -v- Tun Abang Haji Openg where the High Court said the test whether a Chief Minister had ceased to command the confidence of the majority was in the House, not outside of it.

In Nizar’s case, Sulaiman said he did not go through such process to warrant a resignation. Nizar could first advise the Sultan to dissolve the House after losing a confidence vote. If the Sultan used his discretion not to dissolve the House, only then Nizar has to tender his resignation together with his executive councillors.

What Zambry had said

Whereas Zambry’s case, supported by an affidavit affirmed by State Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, was based on the notion that the Sultan refused Nizar’s request for dissolution on grounds that Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority assemblymen. Ahmad Kamal claimed Nizar had invoked Article 16(6) of the State Constitution.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, who acted as intervener, said Nizar had lost the majority, from 31 to 28 and as such no longer commanded the confidence of the majority. He said the Sultan had conducted his own enquiry like interviewing the 31 assemblymen, including the three who crossed over, to come to a conclusion.

Abdul Gani conceded that Nizar could not be sacked or dismissed but he is deemed to have resigned once the political numbers were against him. He said the Sultan, a former Lord President, acted in accordance with the Constitution or else he would have abdicated his duty.

Zambry’s counsel, Cecil Abraham went one step further, saying it was not the Sultan who dismissed Nizar but the constitution itself. There was a provision that provides for Nizar’s position to be vacated, he said.