Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fed Court to interpret Perak Ruler's powers to appoint MB - NST

By : V. Anbalagan

PUTRAJAYA, Wed: April 22, 2009

The two month old Perak constitutional crisis could be over sooner than expected. Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has filed an application in the Federal Court for an interpretation of the Sultan’s prerogative power under the Perak Constitution to appoint a menteri besar. The Federal Court has fixed the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
Zambry’s application, made under Article 63 of the State Constitution, was filed by his solicitors Zul Rafique and Partners at the Federal Court registry on Monday.

This express route is taken following the apex court’s landmark ruling on April 8 that it can decide the status of three independent assemblymen who are friendly to the Barisan Nasional.

Article 63 states that a party to a proceeding in a High Court can go direct to the Federal Court if there was a serious question of law to be determined.

(On April 9, a five-man bench unanimously declared that the three independents were still assemblymen and the Election Commission was the rightful entity to establish a casual vacancy and not the state legislative assembly Speaker.)
In his application, Zambry wants the Federal Court to clarify the position of Article 16 (2) and Article 16 (6) of the Perak Constitution.

He posed three questions:
* whether the ruler had the right to refuse consent to the dissolution of the assembly by ousted menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin when he had lost the confidence of the majority assemblymen;
* whether upon refusal by the ruler to dissolve the assembly, should Nizar and his executive councillors tender their resignations; and
* whether the ruler can appoint Zambry as menteri besar after due inquiry that Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority assemblymen although a vote of no confidence was not taken in the assembly.

If the above questions are in the affirmative, Zambry wants the court to declare that his appointment as menteri besar on Feb 6 was in accordance with Article 16 (2) of the Perak Constitution.

Zambry said his grounds for the application was premised on the basis that the apex court could now decide on the appointment and removal of menteri besar as it was allowed under the Perak Constitution.

He said the questions of general principles posed would be decided for the first time, and it was of public importance as it involved the major concerns of the people of Perak.

Nizar claimed that he was still the legitimate menteri besar on grounds that there was no dissolution of the state legislative assembly, no motion confidence was taken in the house against him and he did not resign.

He also issued a write of quo warranto asking Zambry to show cause by what authority he was occupying the post.

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