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KUALA LUMPUR (The Star Online): The High Court here ruled rule on Monday that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Perak Mentri Besar, and not Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
In his ruling, Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim said that a mentri besar can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence, and he upheld the Stephen Kalong Ningkan ruling.
He noted that the Perak State Legislative did not hold a vote of no confidence.
In 1966, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan was ousted when the state governor showed him a letter of no confidence issued by 21 out of 42 legislators and asked Ningkan to resign.
Ningkan refused, saying the letters were not tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the state legislative assembly. He was sacked by the governor but eventually reinstated by the Borneo High Court, which saw the necessity of a formal vote of no confidence.
According to the Nutgraph, the judge ruled ruled that the governor can only dismiss the chief minister when both these conditions are satisfied:
(a) The chief minister has lost the confidence of the House, and
(b) The chief minister has refused to resign and failed to advise a dissolution.
Nizar had filed for a judicial review on Feb 13, seeking a declaration that he is the rightful mentri besar of Perak and an injunction to bar Dr Zambry from discharging his duties as the mentri besar.
On March 6, Justice Lau Bee Lan had ruled that there were constitutional issues involving the interpretation of Article 16 (6) of the Perak Constitution and later referred four consitutional questions to the Federal Court for determination.
However, on March 23, the Federal Court ruled that the case of who the rightful mentri besar is should be heard by the High Court.
Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, in wrapping up his submissions last week, said the Constitution was the “genius of the Malaysian people”, adding that the court had a duty to uphold it. Over the last few days, he had submitted that the Sultan, while granted powers in the Perak Constitution to appoint a mentri besar, could not dismiss him.
The only way Nizar could be dismissed, he said, was through a vote of no-confidence in the House.
He also said that a mentri besar could request for the State Assembly to be dissolved in the middle of a term without losing the confidence of the majority of the House.
Dr Zambry’s lawyer Datuk Cecil Abraham, however, argued that Nizar went by Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution when he sought an audience with the Sultan – this article specifically provides for the mentri besar to request for a dissolution when he has lost the confidence of the majority in the House.
Under the article, Nizar is required to tender the resignation of his executive councillors when his request was rejected, he said.
Malaysiakini – The Kuala Lumpur High Court today paved the way for a fresh battle in Perak by declaring that BN’s Zambry Abd Kadir is not the legitimate menteri besar of Perak.
Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim then proclaimed Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful Perak menteri besar.
His decision rubberstamped ousted Pakatan Rakyat MB Nizar’s argument that he is still the legitimate menteri besar.
Zambry’s lawyer Cecil Abraham’s application for a stay of proceedings pending an appeal was also rejected by the court.
The judge said if the Sultan of Perak had wanted to order Nizar’s resignation, he should have called the assembly to table a motion of no-confidence against PAS leader.
He said that a new menteri besar could not be appointed as the office had not been vacated
The decision is now set to bring about more uncertainty in the state.
Nizar to meet sultan
Only last Thursday, Zambry and the BN coalition made some inroads in the state assembly by removing the Pakatan appointed speaker V Sivakumar and replaced him with R Ganesan from MIC.
Nizar had sought a declaration that he was the he was the rightful menteri besar and to prevent Zambry from discharging his duty.
The state has been in a political impasse since February after Sultan Azlan Shah urged Nizar to step down and appointed Zambry as the menteri besar.
The sultan’s decision was based on the defection of three Pakatan elected representatives to become BN-friendly independents.
Nizar however has questioned the legitimacy of Zambry’s appointment and has been pushing for the state assembly to be dissolved so that fresh elections could be held.
Nizar’s lawyers previously argued in the court that if he got the declaration, he would seek a fresh mandate to resolve the political deadlock.
At present Pakatan and BN have 28 seats each in the state assembly but the three BN-friendly independents have shaded the power towards the BN side.
After the decision, Nizar said that he would be seeking an audience with the sultan immediately to dissolve the state assembly and pave way for a state election.