PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has unanimously ruled that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir is the valid mentri besar of Perak.
The three-man bench, in setting aside the High Court’s decision earlier which ruled that Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin was the rightful mentri besar “at all material times,” held that Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the Perak State Legislative Assembly.
“The learned High Court judge erred in his interpretation of the relevant provisions in the Perak Constitution.
“Accordingly, the appeal is allowed,” said Justice Md Raus Shariff, who chaired the bench, which also comprised Justices Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop.
The court held that based on the facts of the case, Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah was right in making enquiries to satisfy himself on who held majority in the state assembly, and was right in his appointment of Zambry.
It further ruled that there was no express requirement in the Perak Constitution that there had to be a motion of no-confidence passed before it was determined that Nizar had ceased to command the confidence of the assemblymen.
“The fact that the respondent (Nizar) had ceased to command the confidence can be obtained through other means,” he said.
Justice Md Raus delivered the judgement in less than 10 minutes, and said that the written judgement would be prepared in about a week.
Based on the facts of the case, the court found that Nizar’s request for dissolution was made under Article 16(6), and not Article 36(2) of the Perak Constitution.
Article 36(2) is a general provision for which a request for dissolution can be made when the five-year term of the assembly is drawing to an end.
Article 16(6), on the other hand, states that if the mentri besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the legislative assembly members then, unless at his request the Ruler dissolves the legislative assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the executive council.
The bench also affirmed the court’s decision in the case of former Sabah cabinet minister Datuk Amir Kahar Mustapha who refused to resign in 1995 after the then Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan had quit.
Neither Nizar nor Zambry, who have both been laying claim to the state’s chief executive office since Feb, were present in court Friday.
On Feb 13, Nizar filed for a judicial review against Dr Zambry’s appointment as mentri besar, seeking a declaration that he (Nizar) was the rightful Perak mentri besar and an injunction to bar Dr Zambry from carrying out the duties of mentri besar.
On May 11, the High Court ruled in favour of Nizar, rendering Dr Zambry’s appointment null and void.
However, a day after that, the Court of Appeal granted Dr Zambry a stay of execution, allowing him to remain as mentri besar until his appeal against the High Court ruling was disposed of.
Zambry’s stay of execution was also struck out Friday.
In an immediate reaction, Nizar’s lawyers said they would be filing a notice of motion to obtain leave to file a note of appeal as soon as possible.
Massive interest People turned out in full force at the Palace of Justice earlier Friday to hear who would be the righful mentri besar. Members of the public and media started trickling even before 2pm and were surprised when told there were only limited passes to enter the courtroom.
Police personnel set up two checkpoints in the lobby. The first required visitors and media to register their names and obtain a pass.
There were only 70 passes allocated to the public and media. The media were not told about the limited spaces and many were left stranded outside after the 15 media tags, and subsequently the public tags, ran out.
Security was tight. Police scanned everyone at the second checkpoint outside the doors of the courtroom before they were allowed entry.
While the crowd grew outside, a mini drama ensued in the courtroom. Some members of the media who had obtained seats tried to convince the court police and officers to allow more media personnel in.
However, media agencies were allowed only one representative per organisation, all others were told to leave. Unfortunately, this was not done fairly and some media agencies were “allowed” to have two or more reporters in the courtroom.
The courtroom was packed to the brim but everyone was seated, unlike on Thursday during submissions when it was standing room only.
Those who were denied entry gathered at the barricades and staircase to await the judgement.
Once the judgement was announced, Umno lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun -- who was holding a watching brief for the Barisan Nasional -- came out of the courtroom.
As he stood at the lobby to give a press conference, the crowd of a few hundred jeered him. Unperturbed, he was all smiles as he spoke on behalf of the Barisan Nasional.
When he started walking away, more people jeered and some even tried to approach him, prompting the police to intervene to prevent a fracas.
But when Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah stepped out, the crowd reaction was tremendous. They cheered and applauded.
Standing in the middle of the lobby, Sulaiman lifted up his hand and said “Terima kasih. Terima kasih kepada semua atas sokongan” (Thank you, thank you for everyone’s support). The crowd roared even louder and started chanting “Nizar, Nizar!” and “Reformasi!”
When Nizar’s team of lawyers came out of the courtroom after Sulaiman’s press conference, they too were cheered.
’Respect decision’ Pakatan Rakyat should respect the Court of Appeal’s decision, Dr Zambry told reporters after opening a meeting of Umno branches in SLIM RIVER, reports SYLVIA LOOI.
He said that during this whole crisis, Perak Barisan Nasional had tried its “level best to ensure stability and harmony in the state.”
“I hope the Opposition will continue to maintain the state’s stability,” he said, adding that this was what the rakyat (people) wanted too.
Urging Pakatan not to have large scale ceramah (public addresses) or demonstrations as a show of strength, Dr Zambry said it should now let Barisan carry out its duties to the best of its ability.
“I will still continue to give priority to the state’s administration as this is what is needed now,” he said, adding that he had always been confident that “the truth would prevail.”
’Rakyat rights’ In IPOH, Nizar told CHAN LI LEEN that he had expected such a result, saying, “I’m a bit disappointed but not surprised.”
“Whether the rakyat accepts the decision is another issue. The rakyat should be given the right to decide, not the courts,” he said.
Nizar said he had explained to the people of Perak that Pakatan Rakyat still had its chance at the Federal Court and they should remain calm and patient.
“We do not want any disorder,” he said, confident that he still had the people’s backing.
“As far as I am concerned, the hearts of the rakyat are still with us.
“From the many calls and SMSes I have received, it is evident that their hearts are with us. We are still winning,” he said.
The full High Court judgement that declared Nizar as the rightful Perak MB
Previous stories: Perak MB ruling today (with video) Dr Zambry: I’ll keep doing my job NGOs want royal inquiry into impasse Zambry slams Pakatan tactic Wing lodges report against Salahuddin
Analysis: Ding-dong battle continues
Feb 3: The crisis begins as Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu quit PKR.
Feb 4: Jelapang assemblyman Hee Yit Foong, who is also the assembly’s deputy speaker, quits DAP. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announces the fall of the Pakatan state government.
Feb 6: Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Kadir sworn in as Perak Mentri Besar. He appoints six new state executive councillors.
Feb 13: Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin files suit to challenge the legitimacy of Zambry as Perak Mentri Besar.
Feb 18: Perak assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar suspends Dr Zambry for 18 months and six state exco members for 12 months.
March 3: Sivakumar conducts an “emergency” assembly meeting under a tree near the Perak State Secretariat after police deny Pakatan assemblymen entry.
March 7: The High Court in Kuala Lumpur refers Nizar’s bid to challenge the legitimacy of Dr Zambry’s appointment to the Federal Court.
March 10: Sivakumar files suit in KL High Court against the three independent assemblymen and the Election Commission for not declaring their seats vacant.
March 20: Nizar fails in his appeal against a High Court ruling to move his suit against Dr Zambry to the Federal Court.
March 23: Federal Court sends Nizar’s case back to High Court as the matter involves the state Constitution.
April 10: Federal Court decides that Hee, Mohd Osman and Jamaluddin did not resign and remain as assemblymen.
April 16: Federal Court rules that Sivakumar does not have the power to suspend Dr Zambry and his state exco members.
April 20: Nizar files affidavit at Kuala Lumpur High Court stating that he had sought the consent of Sultan Azlan Shah to dissolve the state assembly because of a deadlock.
May 7: Perak assembly sits and quickly descends into pandemonium. Police enter Assembly and forcibly remove Sivakumar as Speaker; former Sungkai assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan is appointed to replace him.
May 11: KL High Court rules that Nizar is the rightful mentri besar.
May 12: Court of Appeal grants Dr Zambry a stay of execution; he resumes his duties as mentri besar.
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