PUTRAJAYA, May 22, 2009 - By Neville Spykerman | malaysian
The Court of Appeal today returned a unanimous decision that Barisan Nasional's Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir is the rightful Perak mentri besar, ruling that his Pakatan Rakyat rival Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddinn had ceased to command the majority in the Perak state assembly.
The judges also ruled that the Sultan was right in appointing Zambry the MB and that there was no need for a vote of no confidence in the House against Nizar.
The three-member Bench comprising Justices Md Raus Shariff, Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop delivered judgment after hearing submissions from both parties yesterday.
"It is clear the respondent (the state opposition leader) had ceased to command confidence of the Perak state assembly. The Sultan was right to appoint Zambry," Md Raus said.
However, the Court of Appeal decision is not expected to bring an end to the crisis in Perak as the parties can still appeal to the Federal Court.
This afternoon, security at the Court of Appeal was tight with police taking extra precautions in allowing people into the courtroom.
Nizar's counsel Sulaiman Abdullah said he would be filing an appeal.
Md Raus said he had attempted to write the judgement last night but failed.
He assured Suleiman they would have one within a week.
He added there was no automatic right of appeal to the Federal Court. Permission to appeal must be obtained from the Court of Appeal.
“We are disappointed but not surprised at the decision.” said former PR Perak executive council member Nga Kor Ming.
He said although they may have lost the legal battle but they had wonthe hearts of people. “The people will judge the judgement.”
He added the courts were not the best way to solve the crisis and itis better to let the people decide.
Meanwhile BN lawyer Firoz Hussein said there was no need for freshelections in Perak. “To us it’s already academic because the court has affirm the Perak ruler was right when he withheld consent to dissolve.”
Hundreds of PR supporters gathered briefly outside the court complex after the ruling was pronounced, and shouted slogans to back Nizar, including chanting “Refomasi” and “Bubar DUN”.
Neither Nizar nor Zambry were present in court today.
The DAP's Lim Kit Siang, who was present in court, said today's decision could spark more unhappiness with the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Najib is seen as the man who engineered the Perak power grab in February that plunged the state into a constitutional crisis.
Lim said the best solution remains the dissolution of the state assembly to pave the way for fresh elections.
Meanwhile, Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said the decision seemed to suggest that rulers have more power than what is stated in the constitution.
"This would be a huge burden for the rulers in future situations because they can no longer say that the decision should go to the state assembly," he explained.
Ragunath added that the decision did not resolve the constitutional issues involved in the Perak fiasco and echoed popular sentiment that it would be best to bring the matter back to the people for a fresh mandate.
Yesterday Nizar had also said he wanted fresh elections whatever the court decision today was.
Last week the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled that Nizar was the rightful mentri besar because according to the state constitution the only way to remove an MB was through a vote of no confidence in the legislature.
The Sultan, the court ruled, could not dismiss a state's chief executive.
The Court of Appeal disagreed today, and accepted Zambry's argument that Nizar had already lost the support of a majority of the assembly when he went to seek the Sultan's consent for the legislature to be dissolved.
Article 36(2) is generally used to call for elections after an end of term and the question of resignations does not arise.
However under article 16 (6) the Ruler has the discretion to refuse to dissolve the assembly and Nizar must resign along with his state executive council members.
The court ruled there was no legal requirement for a vote of no confidence to be takes against Nizar and the Ssultan could looks at other means to determine if he has lost the support of his fellow lawmakers.
In this case the Sultan was right to speak to the three independent and 28 BN lawmakers and it is was clear Nizar had lost the support of the majority in the House.
He added that the High Court judge had wrongly interpreted the Perak constitution.