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Court of Appeal to determine who can represent Speaker

PETALING JAYA, 12 March 2009: The Court of Appeal will sit at 9am tomorrow to hear an urgent motion about who can represent Perak state assembly Speaker V Sivakumar in court.

The hearing in Putrajaya will only decide on whether Sivakumar can be represented by lawyers of his own choice, instead of the Perak state legal adviser. It will not decide on any other suits that Sivakumar is currently facing.

Sivakumar is facing suits brought by 10 members of the Perak state assembly, including newly-appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Zambry and six state executive councillors (excos) are seeking a court declaration that the Speaker’s decision in suspending them is null and void.

Additionally, three independent lawmakers – Jamaluddin Md Radzi, Capt (R) Mohd Osman Jailu and Hee Yit Foong – want the court to declare that their Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang seats are not vacant, and that they are still legitimate elected representatives.

On 11 March, Ipoh High Court judicial commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that Sivakumar could not represent himself in the suit brought by the three independent assemblypersons.

Earlier, on 5 March, Ridwan had ruled that Sivakumar could only be represented by the Perak state legal adviser, as he was “a public official and a branch of the government”.

Sivakumar’s counsel Chang Kok Leong has argued that the Federal Constitution provides that an individual is entitled to be represented by counsel of his or her choice and not be forced to accept any other.

Sivakumar had filed an appeal against the Ipoh High Court decision.

In a press statement today, Sivakumar said he was encouraged that the Court of Appeal was prepared to hear him at such short notice, and was “hopeful that the outcome will be positive.” 

 

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