Mohammad Nizar (file pic)PUTRAJAYA, 5 Nov 2009: Embattled Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin today failed to get 11 judges to hear his final appeal in the Perak constitutional crisis when the Federal Court rejected his application for a full bench.
Instead, the ongoing battle between Mohammad Nizar and Barisan Nasional-installed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir will be resolved by a panel of five judges.
This was the ruling made by the quorum led by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff. No reason was given for the rejection.
The other four judges who sat with Alauddin were Chief Justice of Malaya Tan Sri Ariffin Zakaria and Justices Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Datuk Wira Ghazali Mohd Yusof and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong.
Not only was Mohammad Nizar’s application for a full bench rejected, but his alternative request for the appeal be heard by more than five judges was also refused.
On 28 Oct 2009, Mohammad Nizar filed his application to the Federal Court under Section 74 of the Courts of Judicature Act, asking for a full bench of judges, or alternatively a larger number of judges, to hear his appeal.
This morning, Mohammad Nizar, through his counsel, Datuk S Ambiga, told the court that the panel of judges should be enlarged as the case involved questions of public interest.
She said the apex court had set up a panel of seven judges to hear appeals in two drug cases previously.
She described the present appeal before the apex court as unique because not only did it involve a serious constitutional issue, both at the federal at state levels, but it also had tremendous impact on public interest.
“Issues concerning the Perak constitution have yet to be resolved. In this appeal, there are important constitutional issues involving interpretation of the Perak constitution which will have an impact on the Federal Constitution and thus concerns public interest.
“Any decision of this court will also impact on the people and set a precedent for other cases as well as history in the country’s jurisprudence,” she said.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, in his objection, said that the application must be made by way of judicial review, and not by a motion.
He said only the Chief Justice had the power to set up a full bench as provided by Section 74 of the Act.
Mohammad Nizar is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s decision which declared Zambry as the rightful menteri besar of Perak.
On 11 May, the Kuala Lumpur High Court declared Mohammad Nizar as the legitimate Perak menteri besar, but the ruling was overturned by the Appeal Court on 22 May. — Bernama