Ngeh maintains Zambry and exco cannot attend May 7 assembly

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

A Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader gave an indication today of how events on Thursday in the Perak state assembly will be played out, by maintaining Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his six Barisan Nasional (BN) executive councillors did not have a right to attend the legislative sitting on that day.

State DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham maintained today that the 18-month suspension meted out by the legislature’s rights and privileges committee still stood despite a recent federal court ruling overturning Speaker V Sivakumar’s suspension of the BN mentri besar and his six executive council members.

Ngeh argued in a statement issued today that the Federal Court’s declaration on April 16 that the speaker’s decision to suspend Zambry and six other BN lawmakers as null and void was a mistake as the speaker did not act alone in making the decision.

“The decision of the state rights and privileges committee was endorsed by the state assembly which was convened on March 3 2009,” said Ngeh, referring to the “under the tree assembly” called by Sivakumar where a motion in support of Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar was passed.

Ngeh’s remarks suggest Sivakumar could, as the speaker, order Zambry and the six BN lawmakers out of the assembly. It is unclear so far how Zambry and his BN colleagues hope to take his seat if such an order is made.

Apart from Zambry the powerful committee also suspended newly appointed exeuctive councillors Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin, Datuk Ramly Zahari, Hamidah Osman, Saarani Mohamad, Mohd Zahir Khalid and Dr Mah Hang Soon.

“Therefore the decision by the state rights and privileges committee is still valid and the assembly speaker as the chairman and member of the committee and the Perak state assembly is legally bound to the decision made by the two bodies,” Ngeh added.

Ngeh also said that the Federal Court has no right to force the state rights and privileges committee and the state assembly to abide by its ruling, citing Article 72 of the Federal Constitution which says the decision in any state assembly cannot be questioned in any court.

He claimed that the Federal Court had also rejected Zambry’s application to declare the emergency session of the assembly held on March 3, as illegal.

“The Federal Court’s decision as interpreted by Pakatan Rakyat lawyers does not allow Datuk Zambry Bin Abd. Kadir and six assemblymen from attending the state assembly and the decision by the assembly on March 3 2009 is valid,” said Ngeh

Zambry had claimed that the emergency session was illegal as it was convened without the consent of the state ruler, and the mentri besar is expected to use the new session of the assembly which begins this Thursday to legitimise his leadership.