Nizar unaware reps wrote to Sultan directly

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said during cross-examination in the High Court here yesterday that he was unaware of several key events when seeking the consent of Perak Ruler Sultan Azlan Shah for the state assembly's dissolution earlier this year.

When questioned by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir's lead counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham, Nizar said that when he had an audience with the Sultan on Feb 4, he was only aware that Mohd Osman Jailu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi had resigned as Changkat Jering and Behrang state assemblymen respectively.

Nizar was being questioned in a suit that he had filed against Zambry for a declaration that Nizar was the rightful menteri besar of Perak. The matter between the two claimants to the post was returned to the High Court by the Federal Court, which ruled on April 28 that it cannot hear Zambry's questions on constitutional interpretations before the facts of the case had been established.

Nizar said he was not aware that Osman, Jamaluddin and Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong had written directly to the Sultan to inform the ruler that they had resigned from their respective parties and not as elected representatives.

During the cross-examination that lasted 90 minutes, Nizar said that he was not aware that Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasharuddin Hashim had since rejoined Barisan Nasional (BN) after a short defection to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Abraham then cited Perak Speaker V Sivakumar's affidavit where Sivakumar stated that he had kept Nizar informed of the developments surrounding the three representatives' resignations.

Abraham: You were then menteri besar of the state. Is it your evidence that the speaker was keeping all this (information) to himself and keeping you in blissful ignorance?

Nizar: I was not informed.

Abraham: Would you regard your speaker as an efficient person?

Nizar: That question is irrelevant.

Abraham then told Nizar it was for the judge to decide whether a question was relevant, to which Nizar replied: "It was subjective (whether the speaker was efficient or otherwise)."

Nizar, who is Pasir Panjang assemblyman and Bukit Gantang MP, also said that while he was aware that the three independents had "gone missing" after their resignations from the party, he did not know which side the three representatives were supporting.

The three defectors had pledged support for BN, tipping the scale in the state assembly in favour of the coalition. Excluding the three representatives, both PR and BN have 28 representatives in the 59-seat assembly.

When pressed, Nizar said he was aware that the Election Commission (EC) had on Feb 4 deemed that there was no casual vacancy in the three disputed state seats and that no by-elections would be called, but he "did not hold to the EC's decision".

Nizar denied a suggestion by Abraham that he was already aware PR had lost control of the state assembly when he met the Sultan on Feb 4. Nizar said his request was made based on his rights and powers as menteri besar rather than on the basis of him losing confidence.

Earlier yesterday, Perak State Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Mohd Shahid was also cross-examined at Nizar's request as there were differing facts describing Nizar's meeting with Sultan Azlan Shah on Feb 4 and 5 in both Nizar and Ahmad Kamal's affidavits.

Ahmad Kamal, when questioned by Nizar's counsel Ranjit Singh, said Zambry's lawyers had instructed him to affirm his affidavits to set out what he knew about Nizar's audience with Sultan Azlan Shah between Feb 4 and 6.

Ahmad Kamal denied a suggestion by Ranjit that he was "biased and not neutral" in the matter.

Nizar will be re-examined by his counsel Ranjit Singh today before the commencement of the hearing of Nizar's suit against Zambry scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, at the Appellate and Special Powers Division, said counsel of both parties can only submit on points of law after facts had been established.

In the suit filed here on Feb 13, Nizar is challenging Zambry to show cause on what authority Zambry is Perak menteri besar as well as an injunction to prevent Zambry or his agents from performing the duties of the menteri besar.

Nizar, in his application for a judicial review, was also seeking constitutional interpretations on the legality of his removal from office along with cost and damages.