Friday, 22 May 2009

All eyes of Perak today


The Court of Appeal's decided in favour of Barisan Nasional's Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, declaring him of the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak. This will not be the end of the drama as Datuk Seri Mohamad Zizar Jamaluddin, who was previously declared the rightful Menteri Besar by the High Court, will be appealing to the Federal Court against the ruling of the Appeal Court.

The Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling at 3pm today as to who is the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak.
What transpired in court yesterday as reported HERE
The PUTRAJAYA, May 21 The Court of Appeal will decide Friday who is the rightful Perak Menteri Besar.
Justice Datuk Md Raus Shariff, who sat with Justices Datuk Zainun Ali and Datuk Ahmad Maarop, fixed 3.30pm to deliver its decision on the appeal filed by Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, who is appealing against the High Court decision in declaring that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Perak Menteri Besar.
The three-man bench set the date after hearing for almost-seven-hours submissions by the three parties involved -- the appellant Zambry, respondent Mohammad Nizar and Attorney-General Datuk Abdul Gani Patail as the intervener.
Earlier, Mohammad Nizar had requested for a panel of five Appeal Court judges to hear the appeal, but was refused.On May 11, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim had ruled that Mohammad Nizar did not vacate the office of Menteri Besar as he had not lost majority confidence in the state legislative assembly.
Following the decision, counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham, for Zambry, enumerated 24 grounds of the appeal with nine main issues for the Appeal Court's determination.
"The question is whether the learned trial judge was right in interpreting Article 16, 18 and 36 of the Perak Constitution. I submit that his lordship had interpreted it wrongly."
Article 16 is very clear and unambigous.
It says, when the Menteri Besar lost the majority confidence, he must resign. It doesn't say that he must go back to the State Legislative Assembly (to table the motion of no-confidence)," he said.
Cecil submitted that learned trial judge was also wrong in holding that the Sultan of Perak had no power to make enquiry to ascertain whether there was in fact a deadlock in the Perak State Legislative Assembly, or whether Mohammad Nizar had lost the majority confidence of the house.
"We also submit that the vote of no-confidence is not the only way to ascertain if the respondent has ceased to command the confidence of the majority," he said further.
Cecil argued that under the constitution, there was no specific provision requiring a motion of no-confidence to be passed by the members of the State Legislative Assembly before ascertaining that the Menteri Besar had lost the majority confidence.
In his submission, Cecil further said that on Feb 5, Sultan Azlan Shah, before deciding on the Mohammad Nizar's request for the dissolution, had met and interviewed Jamaluddin, Mohd Osman and Hee, to make sure that Barisan Nasional has their support.
The Sultan had also met the other 28 state legislative assemblymen who pleged their support to Barisan Nasional, to ascertain that BN had the majority confidence of the house, he said.
"After being satisfied that BN has the majority, His Royal Highness had issued a media statement stating that Mohammad Nizar had lost the majority confidence and asked him to step down," said Cecil.
Meanwhile, Abdul Gani submitted that Mohammad Nizar could not claim that he had the confidence of the majority as there was an equal vote of 28 each on either side (Pakatan and Barisan Nasional).
"This case is a 50-50 situation. It means that there is no majority or minority. In fact, the respondent (Mohammad Nizar) had 28 votes including Speaker V.Sivakumar, but under the standing orders, the speaker cannot vote," he said.
Abdul Gani also submitted that when Mohammad Nizar had the audience with Sultan Azlan Shah on Feb 4, he had admitted that there was deadlock in the state assembly.
"Deadlock means that there was no majority and minority votes. How come Mohammad Nizar at first says that he had majority votes and at the same time say there was a deadlock," he argued.
In the afternoon proceeding, counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, for Mohammad Nizar, submitted that under Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution, the Menteri Besar does not hold office at the Sultan's pleasure, but holds office subject to the confidence of the members of the state legislative assembly to whom the Menteri Besar was responsible.
"As such Mohammad Nizar cannot be dismissed by the Sultan. Mohammad Nizar may only be dismissed after a vote of no-confidence is passed against him by the members of the legislative assembly," he said.
Sulaiman said judge Abdul Aziz was right in applying the decision in the case of the former Sarawak Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan that the only way to dismiss him from the office was by the way of a vote of no-confidence.
"It is our submission that there is no reason why this court should not follow and adopt Ningkan's case to our case," he said."
Whether the Menteri Besar has ceased to command the confidence of the majority, is not the decision of the people of Perak, and not also the decision of the Ruler, but it is the sole decision of the elected members of the legislative assembly," added Sulaiman.
Mohammad Nizar, when met by the media after the proceeding, said: "It doesn't matter what the decision is tomorrow, but what is most important is the support of the people of Perak for me."What we are asking is for them and what we are doing is only getting justice through the process of the court," he said.

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