BUKIT MERTAJAM, 23 May 2009: Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s embattled Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said it is the people, not the courts, who will ultimately decide who will form the state government.
Nizar said this to reporters at an impromptu press conference outside the nomination centre for the Penanti by-election this morning.
He, along with several other PR leaders, had earlier accompanied Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Mansor Othman to the centre at the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) to file in his nomination forms.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeal set aside the 11 May High Court ruling that Nizar was the rightful MB of Perak, and stated that Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir was rightfully sworn-in by the Perak Sultan.
Nizar once again reiterated that he plans to appeal the decision, and added that he was waiting for the grounds of the judgment to be released first.
“The courts only interpret the law. So the courts are not Pakatan’s only avenue in this case. Because the courts do not determine who is the government; ultimately it is the people who will decide,” he said when asked about the case.
Nizar, who is also PAS member of parliament for Bukit Gantang, also reiterated that he was open to talks with the Barisan Nasional over how to solve the Perak crisis.
“If (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) is open to discussion with the PR, then PR are open to it as well. We welcome it,” he said.
When asked what his few hours back as MB was like after the High Court judgment, and before Zambry managed to get a stay order on the decision, Nizar smiled and said the civil servants were very jubilant and according him full status and respect as MB.
“This must mean for the past three months they were miserable,” he quipped.
Nizar, 52, was appointed menteri besar on 17 March last year after the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won 31 seats in the 12th general election.
He was ousted after the Zambry was sworn in as Perak menteri besar on 6 Feb. This was following the BN takeover of the state government, which was caused when three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblypersons opted to become BN-friendly independents, leading to the PR losing its majority in the state assembly.
Nizar sought an audience with the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah on 5 Feb to request the dissolution of the state assembly, but was turned down and instead ordered to step down as menteri besar. Subsequently, Nizar filed a suit against Zambry.
On 13 Feb, Nizar filed a judicial review and sought a declaration from the courts that he is at all material times the menteri besar of Perak. He also sought a declaration that Zambry has no right to hold the office of menteri besar.
On 11 May, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Nizar was the rightful menteri besar of Perak. High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim ruled that there was no provision in the state constitution for the menteri besar to be fired or for the post to be vacant in the event that the menteri besar refused to resign.
However, on 12 May, the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya granted Zambry a stay of execution on the High Court decision pending an appeal.
The next day, Nizar applied to the same court to set aside the stay order.
But in its judgment on 22 May, the Court of Appeal allowed Zambry’s appeal against the High Court decision, and dismissed Nizar’s application.