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Perak independents are legal reps (Updated 11:08pm)

(Updated 11:08pm, 1 April 2009)

IPOH, 1 April 2009: The High Court here today dismissed an application by Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar to set aside a suit filed against him by the assemblypersons for Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang.

Judge Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi also dismissed an application on the same matter by six parties including three former state executive councillors (excos), namely A Sivanesan, Tai Sing Ng and Chan Fook Chye besides three voters from the state constituencies concerned who acted as intervenors, with costs. 

As such until the case is settled , the three assemblypersons — Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Capt (Rtd) Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) — can continue to act as the constituencies’ elected representatives and the seats are not considered vacated. 

 In their suit, the trio had named Sivakumar as the defendant and had asked the court to declare that the seats had not been vacated and they were the valid elected representatives for them although Sivakumar had announced as such.

In February, Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman left Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to become independent assemblypeson while Hee of the DAP did the same, and this led Sivakumar to declare the seats vacant on the premise that the trio had signed undated resignation letters after winning the seats in the general election held on 8 March last year.

Outside the courtroom, the assemblymen’s lead counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin said the decision by the court to dismiss the two applications were significant towards resolving constitutional issues in Perak as soon as possible.

“Basically, the judge held that there was not enough justification for the case to be struck out. The important issue here is the constitution and matters pertaining to state government, how the Speaker acts, how the legislative assembly members resign or do not resign,” he said.

He also said the court fixed 8 April to hear the suit but this depended on the outcome of a Federal Court hearing on constitutional matters regarding the political crisis in Perak on 3 April.

Prior to this, the Speaker’s side had also made an application to the Federal Court to determine whether the Perak Speaker or the Election Commission had the final say on the status of seats in the state assembly.

Meanwhile, on the application by the excos and voters from the three constituencies, another of the assemblyperson’s lawyers, Datuk Hafarizam Harun, said the judge ruled that the six did not have sufficient interest to act as intervenors in the suit.

Among the grounds for the judge’s decision, Mohd Hafarizam said, were that the voters rights were not sufficiently affected while for the excos, their intervention was out of seeming commercial interest because they had lost their posts and salaries and not their rights under the law.

Tomorrow, the Ipoh High Court is scheduled to hear an application by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six excos asking the court for a declaration that Sivakumar’s action in suspending him and the excos from attending state assembly sittings as invalid and ultra vires the Perak constitution.

On 18 Feb, Sivakumar suspended Zambry and the six excos from attending Perak state assembly sittings for 18 and 12 months respectively. — Bernama


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5 Responses to “Perak independents are legal reps (Updated 11:08pm)”

  1. kip says:

    Like that also can???? Now people will say the worst things…

    Never mind, let them enjoy their glory for a while. I hope they will come out to serve their constituencies since they are now “VALID”. Let’s see how Perakians would treat them. I do hope Hee will take a walk in the wet market *evil grin*. Good luck to all of them…do try to service your constituencies. You are paid to listen to their problems.

  2. Eric says:

    There is only one way to resolve the Perak constitutional impasse Najib created. Go back to your voters!

    Bukit Gantang remember this!

  3. zach says:

    Can’t wait for those frogs to come t Bukit Gantang to campaign. Would like to see the welcoming reception by the locals.

  4. wargabebas says:

    I find it hard to believe that once a representative gets elected in, the position is secured for the full term. Surely, there must be a mechanism in place where the electorates can impeach its representative whenever they see fit to do so.

  5. Chan Kheng Hoe says:

    The headline “Perak independents are legal reps” seems misleading. It is a big jump from reporting that V Sivakumar’s application to strike out was dismissed, to drawing the conclusion that the Perak independents are legal representatives. If indeed the court has concluded that the Perak independents are legal representatives, there would be no reason to continue with the suit which precisely seeks a declaration on the status of their respective offices. The matter would, in law, be considered res judicata and therefore can only be appealed against in a superior forum, and not continued in the same High Court.

    It must be borne in mind that the High Court uses very different benchmarks when dealing with a striking out application, as opposed to dealing with a suit proper. The principles that the Court relies on when dealing with a striking out application are well-settled. The Court would only strike out a suit in clear and obvious cases, where the suit is obviously unsustainable.

    Therefore, when the High Court declines to strike out the suit of the trio, the High Court is merely expressing the opinion that there are issues that need to be ventilated and considered. In other words, the High Court is of the view that there is a need to look into the merits of the matter more clearly.

    How would the Court rule in the end? That is still an open question. But merely for comparison purposes, the High Court in Khoo Choon Yam v Gan Miew Chee & Ors had occasion to consider the issue of a signed but undated resignation letter of a director of a company which was subsequently disputed. The High Court then had found that even if such a letter was signed, it was void and of no effect. This is because a resignation cannot be effected under compulsion, and when a person is required to sign an undated resignation letter as a condition for his appointment to office, then the inference must be drawn that such a resignation was signed under compulsion or duress.

    The EC’s rejection of the resignation letters may not be without basis after all.

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