Political saga in Perak continues

Written by Yong Min Wei, The Edge

Less than 24 hours after being declared the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin will have to vacate his office after the Court of Appeal on May 12 granted a stay of execution of the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling on Monday.

Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Ramly Ali, in allowing the appeal by Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, said the situation was unique whereby it affected not only the positions of the appellant and respondent, but also that of the state administration and people of Perak.

The judge on May 12 granted an unconditional stay but expressed the need for an early date to hear theappeal proper by Zambry against the High Court ruling that also ordered him and his executive councillors (excos) to vacate their offices immediately.

In an immediate response to Ramly’s decision that was made at 1.15pm on May 12, Nizar’s counsel Ranjit Singh told reporters they would appeal against the stay of execution once their client had given the green light.

He said Nizar could file an appeal as soon as possible to a panel of three judges in the Court of Appeal to set aside the stay, adding that they had 10 days to do so.

He also said Nizar would respect the Court of Appeal’s decision which appeared to reinstate Zambry as the legitimate menteri besar although the High Court had described Zambry as a usurper who had illegally held power for over three months.

“It is therefore quite unfair now to allow the usurper (Zambry) to carry on in office. This is also dangerous for the administration of the state as there is already a court finding that Zambry was wrongly appointed,” Ranjit said.

Counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who was holding a watching brief for Barisan Nasional (BN), advised Nizar and his excos to honourably vacate their offices as the stay of execution granted meant that any declaration by the High Court was put on hold.

“In short, status quo. Datuk Seri Dr Zambry as at 1.15 pm today is the current menteri besar while his excos are those appointed on Feb 10 by Tuanku Sultan,” he said when asked to comment on the effect of the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Hafarizam said BN would adhere to judicial process and the Rule of Law in seeking the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision. “Even if we lost in the Court of Appeal, we would appeal right until the Federal Court,” he said, adding that BN was prepared to fight the case until all legal avenues were exhausted.

Earlier in court on May 12, Zambry’s lead counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham submitted that a stay of execution was necessary as Nizar would use his position to seek an audience with the Sultan of Perak to request for the dissolution of the state legislative assembly.

He said if the legislative assembly was dissolved, it would render academic Zambry’s appeal and the outcome of the case to be nugatory in nature.

“What about us, my Lord. If a stay is granted, then Zambry could initiate a motion of no confidence against Nizar and the court will say our case is academic,” argued Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah.

He stressed that it was the prerogative of the Sultan of Perak under Article 36 of the Perak Constitution to dissolve the legislative assembly and that Nizar had been all the while the menteri besar as ascertained by the High Court until he was purportedly removed from office.

Nizar’s lawyers appeared unhappy that there was insufficient notice given for on May 12’s hearing as there is usually a one-day notice under normal circumstances from the time of filing.

It is learnt that Sulaiman only knew of the hearing by coincidence when he was at the Palace of Justice to attend another case as Zambry’s lawyers had filed the application at about 9.30am on May 12.

Following the stay of execution, Nizar and his exco members had on May 12 vacated the state secretariat building.