March 13, 2009
PUTRAJAYA:The Court of Appeal on Friday held that Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar can engage private lawyers to represent him in two civil suits brought by Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and six state executive councillors and three independent assemblymen.
Justices Datuk Md. Raus Sharif, Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong and Datuk Ahmad Maarop unanimously held that there was no provision in law to say that the speaker must be represented by Perak legal adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid.
"A speaker is not a state officer or the Government of the state. Sivakumar is at liberty to engage lawyers of his choice," Raus said in his oral decision allowing Sivakumar's appeals to set aside the Ipoh High Court's ruling that only the State Legal Adviser can represent him.
On March 3 and 5, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim refused to allow private attorneys to represent Sivakumar.
Zambry and the six state Exco had brought a suit against Speaker seeking a declaration that the Speaker's decision in suspending and preventing them from attending the assembly's sittings for 18 months (for Zambry) and 12 months (for the rest) is null and void.
The other suit was brought by the three independent lawmakers Jamaluddin Md Radzi, Capt (R) Mohd Osman Jailu and Hee Yit who wanted the court to declare that their Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang seats are not vacant and that they are still the legitimate people's representatives.
This followed the Speaker's announcement last month that they had vacated the seats after Jamaluddin and Osman quit Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Hee left DAP. - Bernama