Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pakatan ready for legal action - Star

Feb 7, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat will take legal action – that much is certain. The question is who the defendant would be – the Perak Sultan, the new Perak Mentri Besar or Barisan Nasional.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in Petaling Jaya that a team of legal experts from PKR, DAP and PAS would draw up a legal suit to challenge the validity of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s appointment as the new Mentri Besar.

Earlier in Ipoh, former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said he would file a suit on Tuesday against Zambry at the High Court to declare his swearing-in as unconstitutional and illegal.

Nizar said the state was currently facing a constitutional crisis, as he had not resigned from his post, leaving Perak with two Mentris Besar.

He slammed reports in some Malay-language dailies for claiming that he was going to sue the Perak royalty.

“I have no intention of suing the royalty. It is a lie,” he said.

Instead, Nizar said he was trying to uphold and defend the dignity of the royal institution by appealing that the Sultan acts according to legal provisions.

“It cannot be perceived to be on the side of any particular political party,” he added.

However, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh said Pakatan would take legal action against the Sultan of Perak and the Barisan Nasional for proceeding with the swearing-in.

The veteran politician and leading lawyer claimed that the Sultan had acted beyond his powers in dismissing the Pakatan state government which was ultra vires to Article 16 of the Perak Constitution.

The Article states that if the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly he shall tender the resignation of the executive council.

This is unless on the MB’s request, His Royal Highness dissolves the legislative assembly.

“This should not be constituted as a threat to the Sultan, but a firm reminder that he is required to act within the parameters of the Perak Constitution,” said Karpal.

He also argued that the Election Commission had ruled that there was doubt over the vacancy of the seats of Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi after the resignation letters submitted by Perak assembly speaker V. Sivakumar were contradicted by denials from the duo.

This triggered the provisions of Article 33 (1) which says: If any question arises whether a member of the legislative assembly has become disqualified for membership, only the assembly could decide on the status of the assemblymen and not the Sultan of Perak.

Karpal said Anwar was wrong in starting a campaign to take over power based on cross-overs, and so was Najib.

He added that the DAP had taken a stand from the beginning to adopt an anti-party-hopping policy.

Barisan does not have the two-thirds majority to amend the Constitution and DAP was prepared to give them the vote and would persuade PKR and PAS to support the amendment, Karpal said.

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