KUALA LUMPUR, April 24.2009 —By Debra Chong
In the latest development over the lawsuit to decide the lawful Perak mentri besar, Pakatan Rakyat’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is asking for the full panel of nine judges to hear his arguments next Tuesday when the case moves to the Federal Court in Putrajaya.
Nizar, who maintains he is the rightful mentri besar as he has not resigned from the post, is suing Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir for usurping the office.
He is also objecting to Zambry’s application to refer several constitutional questions to the Federal Court to decide, claiming the questions posed were irrelevant to his suit.
“They keep saying ‘Sultan, Sultan, Sultan’ but we’re not challenging the Sultan, only Zambry,” said one of Nizar’s battery of lawyers, Leong Cheok Keng, referring to the list of questions drawn up by Zambry for the apex court to answer.
Leong told The Malaysian Insider a letter was written to Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Zaki Azmi earlier this week requesting the full bench of nine judges as it concerned the “life and death of a regime” in Perak.
Leong explained that a full bench sits in criminal cases where the mandatory punishment is death, to show the importance of the matter.
He pointed out that Nizar’s case was just as important and deserved to be treated with the same gravity, as the outcome of the court decision would decide the continuity or termination of Nizar’s administration.
Asked if Nizar was also requesting a fresh panel of judges to replace the five who had previously heard the matter when it was first brought up, Leong said the letter did not state as such but hoped the CJ would take into consideration the need for “fresh minds” to hear the arguments from both sides.
He noted that the judges who had heard the matter a short while ago are unlikely to change their minds so swiftly. But Leong stressed they were not trying to “dictate” what the CJ should do.