The impact of Nizar Vs Zambry

(The Malaysian Insider) MAY 11 – Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin – Nizar has maintained all along that he was the Mentri Besar of Perak.

He was ridiculed as “power hungry” by Umno politicians and portrayed as a traitor by the mainstream media for challenging Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision.

Today, he was vindicated by the High Court, which ruled that a mentri besar can only be removed through a vote of no-confidence in the state assembly.

•       Speaker V Sivakumar – He was dragged out of his chair, roughed up and locked up for an hour on May 7 while Barisan Nasional installed their own man as the Speaker of the state assembly.

The High Court decision effectively returns the state assembly to the status quo, the way it was pre-February 4. This means that Sivakumar is still the Speaker of the House and even if the Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and other BN lawmakers want to propose any motion, it has to be accepted by him.

•       The Stephen Kalong Ningkan principle – He was the first Chief Minister of Sarawak but was booted out in 1966 when the governor asked him to resign, showing him letters by 21 of the 42 legislators that said they had lost their confidence in him. He challenged this saying that the letters did not have the effect of a vote of confidence in the state assembly.

He was sacked by the governor but took his case to court. The High Court reinstated him and laid down the principle that the governor could only dismiss the chief minister if the latter had lost the confidence of the House. This principle was upheld by the High Court of Kuala Lumpur today.

•       Deadlock or loss of confidence – One of the pivotal factual issues in the Zambry Vs Nizar case was this: did Nizar tell the Sultan that he had lost the majority of the House when he asked for the state assembly to be dissolved or did he merely say that the House was deadlocked?

Nizar said that during the audience with the Sultan on February 4, he informed the Ruler that with the resignation of three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers, there was a deadlock situation in the assembly and therefore sought the dissolution of the House and fresh elections.

But Perak state legal adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid in an affidavit said that Nizar told the Sultan of Perak that he wanted the state assembly dissolved because he had lost the confidence of the majority.

The High Court judge today made clear whose version of events he believed.