PUTRAJAYA, 9 July 2009: The battle over the post of Perak menteri besar is set to continue at the Federal Court here after the apex court today gave the green light to former menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to appeal against the appellate court’s declaration that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is the legitimate menteri besar.
Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, who sat with Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ariffin Zakaria and Federal Court judge Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, granted the leave to appeal after the respondent, Zambry, and intervernor Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail had no objections to the application.
Nizar However, the three-person bench refused Nizar’s application for a stay of the Appeal Court’s ruling, which was made on 22 May.
“This is our unanimous decision, the application for stay is refused. In any case, we will take steps to hear the appeal as early as possible,” said Alauddin.
Earlier, Nizar’s counsel, S Ambiga, told the court that their leading counsel, Sulaiman Abdullah, was sick and absent from the proceedings today.
Ambiga, the former Bar Council president, later submitted three questions for the apex court’s consideration:
whether under Article 16(6) of the Laws of the Constitution of Perak, the post of the Perak menteri besar may be or has been vacated;
whether under Article 16(6) of the Laws of the Constitution of Perak, the determination of the issue of confidence in the menteri besar of Perak has to be made by members of the Perak State Legislative Assembly on a resolution of confidence, or otherwise;
if the menteri besar refuses to tender his resignation, whether under the Laws of the Constitution of Perak, a menteri besar may be dismissed from office or the menteri besar’s post be deemed vacant or vacated.
Ambiga then asked the court for a stay order of the Appeal Court’s decision.
“In the three months after the respondent (Zambry) was appointed on 6 Feb 2009, until 22 May, the respondent and the Barisan Nasional government have taken actions which do not benefit the people of Perak,” she said, reading from Nizar’s affidavit.
Among the actions were:
- failing or refusing to implement approved welfare programmes like the kilafah fund, people’s special welfare fund, increased monthly aid for poor families, and the small-business loan fund;
- terminating the services of the village heads and dissolving the village development and security committees.
- changing the list and terminating the services of the local councillors;
- delaying the Ipoh Sentral integrated bus service project; and
- auctioning of the Camry cars used as official vehicles for the state executive councillors.
“We are opposed to the stay application. If the stay is granted, this honourable court will be interfering with the executive power of a menteri besar, which the court has no jurisdiction to do so,” submitted Zambry’s counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham.
Zambry “This is a highly improper application of stay. The policies may be right or wrong, it is up to the politician.
“If the stay is granted, the High Court order will be reinstated and the appellant will become the menteri besar. This is what the court should not do,” Abraham said, adding that his team was ready to expedite the hearing of the case.
Abdul Gani, as the intervenor, also took the same stand and objected to the application.
Ambiga replied: “The interim order must be given to prevent prejudice to the appellant. Some of the policies cannot be reversed.
“All the decisions made by the appellant and his exco members must continue for the interest of the people in Perak.
“The respondent has applied for a stay of the High Court order, they cannot say now that we cannot do the same,” she added.
On 13 Feb, Nizar initiated the legal action to seek a declaration that he is the rightful menteri besar and an injunction to bar Zambry from discharging his duties.
On 11 May, the High Court declared Nizar as the legitimate Perak menteri besar, but the ruling was overturned by the Appeal Court on 22 May. — Bernama