By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Pakatan Rakyat’s Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin is the real mentri besar of Perak , the Kuala Lumpur High Court decided today.
Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim said in his ruling that the only way the mentri besar can be removed is through a vote of no-confidence that must be taken in the state legislative assembly.
[Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and supporters celebrating the court ruling that he is the rightful mentri besar of Perak. – Picture by Choo Choy May]
Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and supporters celebrating the court ruling that he is the rightful mentri besar of Perak. – Picture by Choo Choy May
“Once a mentri besar is appointed, he is answerable only to the assembly,” he told the court, noting both political factions, PR and Barisan Nasional (BN) each had an equal number of 28 seats in the Perak State Assembly.
“Therefore, based on democratic practice, any measure of loss of confidence in the mentri besar of Perak leadership should be taken by vote of no-confidence against him on the floor of the state legislative assembly. Only in this manner can the mentri besar be forced to resign,” he added.
The judge noted that the provisions under Article 16 of the Perak Constitution – specifically under Articles 16(2) and 16(6) respectively – dealing with the ruler’s royal right to appoint an MB and to dissolve or not to dissolve the assembly were “plain and obvious” and did not give the ruler any right to sack the MB.
Justice Abdul Aziz pointed out that because of the “lacuna” (Latin for “loophole”) in the law, the court could not read it to mean something that did not exist.
He added that the only way to correct the loophole was for the law to be amended.
He also noted Nizar was not challenging the Sultan’s royal rights as a constitutional monarch but was suing Zambry for usurping his post as MB when he had not quit or been dismissed by the assembly.
Turning his attention to Zambry, the respondent in the lawsuit, the judge explained there had been a clear way out.
“If the respondent’s claim in this case is truly undeniable, that he has 31 majority, after the three ADUN expressed support, commanded the confidence of the majority and His Royal Highness had refused to consent to the request of the applicant to dissolve the assembly, why the BN did not request His Royal Highness to summon the assembly for a special sitting so that a motion of no-confidence can be made to pass against the applicant?” quizzed Justice Abdul Aziz.
“That would have been in accordance with the democratic process,” he highlighted.
The High Court also rejected an oral appeal from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir to suspend the declaration as he was planning to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.
But Justice Abdul Aziz told Zambry’s chief counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham he could still make a written application to the High Court after checking with the authorities.
Nizar’s chief counsel Sulaiman Abdullah explained to reporters later that if the High Court had granted Zambry’s request for a stay of the declaration, Nizar would not be able to immediately seek an audience with the Sultan and as the lawful MB ask for a dissolution of the assembly.
Nizar, who attended the court hearing today, looked stunned when he heard the judge decide in his favour.
He was immediately engulfed in hugs and congratulatory handshakes from his wife Fatimah Taat and peers from the three-party PR alliance, including Pas election director Datuk Mustafa Ali, PKR’s vice-president Azmin Ali and Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham.
Speaking to reporters after disentangling himself from the multiple arms around his neck, Nizar said he was going to seek an audience with the Perak sultan and ask for the assembly to be dissolved, paving the way for fresh statewide elections.
“I’ll be approaching the palace for dissolution almost immediately on arrival to Ipoh. I will seek an audience with Tuanku,” he said.
But Nga Kor King of the DAP believes Sultan Azlan Shah is now in the United States. He told The Malaysian Insider the Perak PR alliance will hold a meeting tonight to discuss the next step while waiting for an audience with the ruler.
“We must give the Sultan time,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the police have warned the public not to gather near the state secretariat here to prevent any untoward incident.
Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdulah said police would take action against those who defied the order.
The police, including the Federal Reserve Unit, have been stationed at the building, he said when contacted today, and insisted that the situation was under control.
Nizar is MB
By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)