Ngeh: Dissolution only after legal clean-up, if Nizar is reinstated

Written by Yong Min Wei, The Edge 

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Perak will have to tidy up certain legal issues pertaining to state administration before it calls for a snap poll should the Federal Court decide tomorrow to reinstate Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful menteri besar.

State assemblyman for Setiawan and Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said PR would have to work with legal advisers to determine if such state matters as remuneration and land titles were valid before seeking the ruler’s consent to dissolve the state assembly and pave the way for a new election.

“If reinstated, we will need a few days to sort things out. After that, we will seek dissolution. We will fulfil our promise to Perakians to dissolve the assembly,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

Ngeh, a senior executive councillor in PR’s Perak government, said the resolutions and state budget passed by the state assembly last year must be ratified or else the legitimate administration would face a situation in which provisions were considered “ultra vires” or not in accordance with proper procedures.

For example, he said, the PR government would have to determine whether the appointment by Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir of three special advisers with executive councillor status was valid and thus they should be accorded such wages.

Ngeh: No witch-hunt if PR restored to power
Ngeh: No witch-hunt if PR restored to power

Ngeh: No witch-hunt if PR restored to power

He added that elected representatives who took their oath of office were bound to uphold the law and they must evaluate whether there was outside interference that tarnished the sanctity of the assembly during the May 7 sitting and whether PR Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar was unjustly removed.

Nevertheless, Ngeh said PR would not go on a witch-hunt if it was restored to power and that its priority was to ensure peace and development prevailed in the state.

Asked what PR would do if the ruler withholds consent for dissolution, he replied: “Under normal circumstances, His Royal Highness would not withhold consent. We will cross the bridge when it comes.”

Ngeh, a trained lawyer, said he was optimistic from a legal point of view that the apex court’s decision would favour Nizar as the legal precedent in the “Stephen Kalong Ningkan” case, where a chief minister could only be dismissed by a vote in the Council Negri, had never been challenged in more than 40 years.

“It must be reminded that the duty of the judges is to interpret laws and not to make laws,” said Ngeh, who is also Beruas MP.

He added that PR and Nizar had maintained there was a deadlock in the 59-seat assembly.

The lawmaker said if the Federal Court’s decision were to favour Zambry, then it would be the duty of parliament to amend the laws to clearly provide for a chief executive of a government to be removed without having to go through a vote in the House.

Speculation in the PR camp is that the apex court would reinstate Nizar tomorrow after a prolonged deliberation of the case. Zambry, meanwhile, has hinted that he has no intention of calling for a snap election in Perak.

A political analyst said he believed that the Federal Court’s delay in handing down judgment in the Nizar vs Zambry battle would likely see a majority decision, instead of a unanimous one.

He noted that the five-man bench could have meticulously deliberated on whether their judgment would lead to the notion that the head of a state administration holds office under the pleasure of the ruler. However, he said fresh polls would seem fair to voters in the state as they had seen Nizar administer the state for 11 months and Zambry for one year.

Asked whether Zambry would also opt for fresh polls if the court decision favoured him, he said: “The signs are weak but I believe Perak will see fresh polls before MCA have theirs.”

He added that if Nizar was named the legitimate MB, there could be a compromise by the two parties and Zambry would seek the ruler’s consent to dissolve the assembly.

“This is politics… They (politicians) are not always on tenterhooks,” he said.