Thursday, May 21, 2009

Judgment day tomorrow in MB vs MB case - The Malaysian Insider

Nizar and his wife taking a break from the hearing. - Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, May 21 — The Court of Appeal will decide tomorrow if it agrees with the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling that Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Perak mentri besar.

A three men panel heard submissions today from lawyers representing Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Nizar, in what was a repeat of the protracted trial in the High Court.

Both teams put forward the same arguments they made during the high court case.

Zambry’s team arguing that Article 16 (6) of the Perak constitution allowed the state ruler to ask the MB to resign if he is deemed to have lost the confidence of the state assembly.

Nizar’s lawyers contended that a state chief executive can only be deemed to have lost the confidence of the legislature through a vote in the state assembly.
Justice Raus Shariff says question before court is whether the trial judge had interpreted the Perak Constitution correctly.

"If wrong, the appeal will be allowed, if right, the appeal will be dismissed," he said.

The following day Zambry filed an appeal and obtained a stay order from Court of Appeal judge Ramly Ali who had sat as a single judge.

Following this Nizar filed his own application to set aside the stay order granted to Zambry.

Nizar's application is to set aside the stay order obtained by Zambry against the High Court ruling which had declared Nizar as the legitimate mentri besar.

He had also requested that the matter be heard by a five-member Court of Appeal panel, instead of the usual three, as it was a matter of public interest and touched on constitutional issues.

However, Nizar failed to get his request. It is learnt that his letter of request did not reach the Court of Appeal president Alauddin Md Sheriff on time.

This morning, the parties agreed that Zambry's appeal will be heard first.

The three-member panel hearing the matter comprises Justices Abdul Raus Sharif, Datuk Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop.

This legal battle between Nizar and Zambry is largely seen by many as the final judicial attempt by either party to stamp their authority as the rightful and legitimate Perak menteri besar.

The hearing is expected to take a few days before the court makes a ruling on both the matters before it.

The hearing began with Zambry's counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham arguing that High Court judge Abdul Aziz Ab Rahim had not given proper weight to the evidence produced on the legality of Zambry's appointment.

Cecil said the evidence had showed that the Sultan of Perak had ordered Nizar to resign which the latter had refused to do so.

The constitutional provision provides that Nizar resign following the Sultan's directive, said counsel.

Cecil said the Ruler was only exercising his royal prerogative under Article 16(6) of the Perak constitution to reject Nizar's request for the assembly to be dissolved.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who has intervened in the matter to assist the court, started his submissions after Cecil ended his.

Gani said there were no provisions under the Perak constitution for a mentri besar to be voted out through a vote of no confidence to show that he had lost the majority in the House.

He argued that if the mentri besar had lost the confidence of the House, he must resign.

Nizar's lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah submitted after the lunch break.

He said that there was no provision in the state constitution that gave express power for the sultan to sack a mentri besar.

He argued that the Sultan could dismiss the state exco but not the MB.

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