Feb 22, 2009 By SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six suspended state executive council members are seeking a second opinion from a Queen’s Counsel in London on the constitutional impasse in the state.
According to a source close to the Barisan Nasional, a senior lawyer is leaving for London Monday to meet with the QC.
One of the assemblymen and other lawyers will also be part of the group, said the source.
“The team comprises old and new young lawyers, there is one who was involved in the two chief ministers case in Sabah in 1986.
“They are going to for a second opinion on the purported suspension of the Perak MB and the six assemblymen as well as the suit filed (by Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin on Feb 13) that the MB (Dr Zambry) is purportedly not the MB.”
The constitutional crisis in Perak began early this month after two PKR and one DAP assemblymen left their parties, leading to Nizar to seek Sultan Azlan Shah’s consent to dissolve the state assembly. On Feb 5, the ruler instead declared the Pakatan Rakyat government had lost its majority and appointed Barisan’s Dr Zambry as Mentri Besar.
Nizar and his team have refused to quit and the crisis is now a well truly a constitutional quagmire after State Legislative Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar on Feb 18 suspended Dr Zambry and his executive council from the assembly for 12 and 18 months, respectively.
Asked whether the lawyers had been instructed by Barisan, the source said they were acting on behalf of Dr Zambry and the six exco members and took instructions from them as the aggrieved party.
On whether they would apply for a QC to represent them in court, the source said:
“No. In addition to seeking a second opinion, they also want an opinion on the position in other Commonwealth jurisdictions, apart from the Sabah and Sarawak cases here.”
Asked whether the legal eagles were getting a QC’s opinion because several legal experts have described the legal impasse as “uncharted constitutional territory”, despite the East Malaysian case precedents, he replied:
“They think the Federal Constitution has been stretched to extreme limits. See how the Speaker unilaterally acted in convening the Rights and Privileges Committee when the Dewan was not in session and suspending the MB and his exco members.”
“That is a clear and direct contravention of the assembly’s Standing Orders and convention as practised in Parliament.”
Asked whether the state legal adviser would represent Dr Zambry and the six in court, the source said that because they were suspended as assemblymen, the question of whether the state legal adviser could do so in that case and act for Dr Zambry in Nizar’s application for a judicial review was also a matter they were seeking a second opinion of from the QC.