Justice Mohamad may opt out of Nizar vs Zambry case

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 19 Feb 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: In an unexpected development, High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof is considering recusing himself from the judicial review filed by former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Justice Mohamad said he had been a legal adviser and counsel for PAS in a number of election petition cases as well as handled the party’s legal matters.

“I have also advised PKR on a few matters. I have also acted for Barisan Nasional in an election petition in Sarawak,” he told a packed courtroom. In the suit filed last Friday, Nizar, a PAS member, challenged the legitimacy of his successor Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and the new state government.

Justice Mohamad said he allowed the matter to be called in open court because 14 lawyers had turned up for the case and he wanted all to know his position.

Besides, he said, the parties may want to refer the matter to the Federal Court, for an interpretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution for finality.

[Article 16(6) states that if the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council].

Upon hearing this, Perak Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, appearing for Zambry, said he had received instructions to apply for Justice Mohamad’s recusal.

However, Sulaiman Abdullah, lead counsel for Nizar, argued that Justice Mohamad was capable of hearing the case without any danger of bias.

At the outset, Sulaiman had objected to Ahmad Kamal representing Zambry. Ahmad Kamal said he had a right to represent the respondent and that the application by counsel was premature.

He also applied to have the case transferred to the Ipoh High Court.

Related stories: Perak MB and exco ‘suspended' Suspension a mockery of the system, say BN reps Councils set up before exco suspension Expert: Suspension of Perak MB, exco members questionable

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