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Zambry wins in MB vs MB case

PUTRAJAYA, 22 May 2009: Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is the lawful menteri besar (MB) of Perak after the Court of Appeal ruled today that the sultan of Perak was right in finding that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin had lost the confidence of the majority of state assemblypersons.

The appellate court set aside the High Court decision on 11 May that Nizar was the rightful MB.

The three-person bench unanimously ruled that Perak Ruler Sultan Azlan Shah was right to have appointed Zambry as the new MB on 6 Feb, after determining that Nizar had ceased to command the majority’s confidence in the assembly.

Justices Datuk Md Raus Shariff, Datuk Zainun Ali and Datuk Ahmad Maarop ruled that the sultan was entitled to ascertain where the confidence of the majority of assemblypersons lay by means other than a vote of no-confidence in the assembly.

“There is no mandatory or express requirement that provides that there must a motion of no confidence to be tabled in the state legislative assembly,” said Md Raus, who read out the judgement.


Zambry wins in this round of the legal battle to be the rightful Perak MB

The judgement was read out in about 10 minutes. In deciding to allow Zambry’s appeal, the judges held that:

  • the granting or withholding of consent to a request for dissolution of the legislative assembly was a royal prerogative;
  • the facts of the cased showed that Nizar’s request for dissolution fell under Article 16(6) and not Article 36(2) of the Perak Constitution;
  • that under Article 16(6), Nizar had to tender his resignation together with that of his executive councillors after the sultan withheld consent to his request for dissolution;
  • that there was no mandatory or express provision in the state constitution for a motion of no confidence to be tabled in the legislative assembly against Nizar, who had ceased to command the confidence of the majority;
  • the fact that Nizar had lost the majority’s confidence could be obtained or established by alternative means, and that the sultan was right in making enquiries on whether he had lost the majority before rejecting his request for a dissolution of the legislative assembly;
  • that because Nizar had ceased to command the majority’s confidence, the sultan was right under Article 16(2) in appointing Zambry as MB after being satisfied that Zambry commanded the confidence of the majority; and,
  • that the High Court judge had erred and failed to appreciate all the evidence before him in making a decision.

As such, Nizar’s application to set aside the stay order granted to Zambry has been struck out. Zambry had obtained a stay of execution on the High Court’s earlier decision that Nizar was the rightful MB.

Nizar to appeal

Nizar’s lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah said they would be appealing in the Federal Court. Firstly though, Nizar would have to obtain leave from the Federal Court in order to file the appeal, as cases moving from the Court of Appeal to the Federal Court do not get an automatic right of appeal.

Sulaiman also asked Md Raus to issue the written judgement urgently to expedite their application for leave to file the appeal. Md Raus said he would try or else have the judgement ready in about a week.

“I appreciate that the learned judges could reach a decision in such a short time. We have extraordinary judges in Malaysia with extraordinary abilities,” Sulaiman told reporters later, when asked if he was surprised with the overnight decision given that Zambry’s appeal was only heard yesterday.

In arguing Nizar’s case, Sulaiman had told the court that no law existed to remove a menteri besar or prime minister. He also argued that the only way to determine if an MB had the confidence of the majority in the assembly was by a vote of no-confidence in the House. 

Zambry’s lawyers have argued that Nizar had to resign under Article 16(6) upon losing the confidence of the majority of the assemblypersons, and upon the sultan’s rejection of his request for a dissolution. They argued that the sultan could use other means to determine where the majority’s confidence lay.

“Absolute monarchy” now

Neither Nizar nor Zambry was in court today.

Pantai Remis assemblyperson Nga Kor Ming, who was present on behalf of Nizar, said the judgement today showed that Malaysia was now an “absolute monarchy”.

“The Agong can now sack the prime minister at his pleasure without a motion of no-confidence in Parliament. Though we are disappointed that we have lost the legal battle, we know we have won the hearts of many. The Perak constitutional crisis was never meant to be solved in the courts,” Nga said.

Image showing huge crowd at the appeals court decision on the Zambry vs Nizar case
A huge crowd showed up at the appeals court

Zambry’s counsel, Umno lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun said the judgement put Malaysia’s law “in line” with other Commonwealth countries.

“We hope there are no more requests to dissolve the state legislative assembly as that is now academic,” he said.

Outside the courtroom were about 100 supporters who cheered Sulaiman and the rest of Nizar’s legal team as they left.

Earlier, many journalists were unhappy when police prevented them from entering the courtroom. Police said they had to limit the number of reporters in the courtroom on the orders of the Court Registrar’s Office.

After much protest, and with the pleading of lawyers and reporters already inside the courtroom, the court registrar allowed a few more reporters with a limit of one reporter for each news organisation.

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14 Responses to “Zambry wins in MB vs MB case”

  1. good la says:

    All I can see are two politicians accused of corruption holding up Zambry. The End does NOT justify the means, Mr PM sir. It’s not if you have the majority but HOW you obtained it that matters. Like someone said, every decision that we make, every single one, is not a decision of what to do but it’s a decision of WHO WE ARE…

  2. Noel Dass says:

    “[T]he granting or withholding of consent to a request for dissolution of the legislative assembly was a royal prerogative”

    To me (as a lay person), this is indeed a very troubling statement. The courts are effectively saying that the Sultan(s) are the highest body and possess absolute power, which is very contrary to what the role they are supposed to be playing in a Constitutional Monarchy, where the will of the people should hold absolute sway. This is truly the death of democracy!

  3. rampage says:

    Are they saying that state assemblypersons any parliamentarians who gather in a mamak stall can decide that the MB or PM has ceased to have majority confidence by simply discussing it among each other and then submitting their notification to the Agung or Sultan?

    So if that is the case, is it correct to put forth that in the event Anwar Ibrahim has got the majority, would he be able to form a new government by just presenting it to the Agung directly without passing any motion in the parliament? Would it then be correct to say that the Agung can remove the PM just by having an audience with Anwar and the rest of other MPs who no longer support BN?

    By the way, how on earth are we going to determine whether or not that any particular MB or PM has ceased to have the majority confidence if they do not vote it in the assembly?

    If that is the case, any state assemblyperson or parliamentarian would be able to support or go against the government of the day by just simply gathering wherever they like or perhaps even SMS-ing their preference. Would that be acceptable too?

    I am puzzled? Can somebody enlighten me on this?

  4. KL Wong says:

    A very bad and lopsided judgement in favour of BN, one that was already expected by Perakians and all Malaysians at large, right from the moment the single judge of the Court of Appeal granted the stay of execution against the High Court ruling of 11 May.
    A result not at all surprising but certainly, I wonder if justice will ever prevail in Malaysia. Wear black for 1Black Malaysia until justice is restored.

  5. kwchap says:

    As expected. Can someone tell me what had happened to the 2 corruption charges against the 2 frogs? Is it a trade-off for being so-called BN-friendly?

  6. Fikri Roslan says:

    I am very happy that the situation is now getting better in Perak. The politicians should be more responsible in future. They should not confuse the people by playing a lot of drama and using the gray area of law to make the drama more dramatic. They should focus on their responsibility to represent their constituency. The Speaker should know that he has a greater role to ensure that the State Assembly is running smoothly and responsibly. As a Speaker, he should be fair. I blame the whole episode and problem on Sivakumar. He should check carefully whether the three ADUN really wanted to resign. Then, if BN has the majority, he should brave enough to allow the vote to take place. If he had done that, then the integrity of State Assembly could be preserved. The Sultan would therefore not be needed to determine the majority; the court should not interfere; and most important is the interest of Perakian will not be jeopardized.

    I hope Siva, enough is enough. You have created too much damage. To PR, do not waste time and be a good loser. You can wait for the next election.

  7. elaine says:

    It is quite pointless to argue and to make sense of what has happened because it is basically senseless. There is no need for enlightenment as in the first place.Leave Zambry alone or else he will make more foolish decisions. Who suffers in the end? The Perakians.

  8. mike says:

    I am very sad at how the the courts have let us down again … is there no justice in Malaysia….

    Dear PM it would be very foolish to think that Malaysians would believe you when you condemn Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim about his statement on the verdict when we the laymen can clearly see what is happening.

    I would humbly request that you fully understand the concept of the Rukun Negara because I am sure all Malaysians understand it very well….

  9. mike says:

    Let Perakians decide who they want. Let us vote …we are the only people who should be allowed to decide on this.

    Nobody outside Perak can decide for us

    Only the man on the street can decide who the government is to be … this is democracy.

  10. IPOH MALI says:

    What corruption cases? Those cases have been “deleted” the day the 2 frogs joined BN. In Malaysia, anything boleh.

    JUSTICE IS DEAD IN MALAYSIA !!!!!!

  11. Cheah Thein Fook says:

    What happen to the corruption charges against the 2 assemblypersons in Perak? The MACC was supposed to be lightning fast in their investigation and in accordance to their new procedures these men should be charged within two weeks as they already have all the evidence.

  12. rampage says:

    There is no such thing as “using the grey area of law to make the drama more dramatic” as far as Perak issue is concern. Any person with a sound mind would understand that the matter involves the Perak State Constitution and the Federal Constitution and there is nothing grey about it.

  13. maat says:

    Please read Ibrahim Ahmad’s article in Malaysiakini on 25 may on why Nicar shouldn’t appeal to the Federal Court.

  14. maat says:

    The three frogs – have they served the people well? Hee woman in hiding, not performing. There should be a by-election to replace her. The two charged with alleged corruption have a tainted reputation and were induced to leave PKR? They’re some role model to look up to. Must be desperate to rope in those with tainted reputation.


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