By Humayun Kabir
IPOH (March 31, 2009) : Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim today recused himself from hearing the suit brought by three assemblymen against Perak State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar for declaring their state seats vacant.
It was the second time that Ridwan had declined to hear Sivakumar’s case.
The first was on March 24 when he recused himself from hearing the suit brought by Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six state executive councillors against their suspension order by Sivakumar for contempt of the House.
Ridwan transferred the case to High Court (1), which will be heard on Thursday.
Today, the lawyers for Sivakumar and reporters were surprised to read a notice on the door of High Court (4) that the second case has been transferred to High Court (6).
No explanation was given to the lawyers about the transfer of the case to another court but it is believed Ridwan had recused himself following a Federal Court ruling on March 23 that the suit by the three assemblymen would be referred to the High Court in Ipoh for trial.
Ridwan had referred the suit to the Federal Court for determination of constitutional issues involving the state constitution as to whether the Election Commission or Sivakumar has the power to declare state assembly seats vacant.
The Federal Court ruled that it cannot entertain applications to interpret state constitutions if referred directly from the High Court.
The only way the matter can be brought to the Federal Court was by way of an appeal to the Court of Appeals first.
The three assemblymen who filed the suit against Sivakumar are Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changat Jering), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang), whose seats were declared vacant by the speaker based on their pre-dated resignation letters.
Sivakumar had informed the EC to call for fresh elections for these three seats but EC declined and said the seats were not vacant.
The three assemblymen then referred their suit to the High Court here for a ruling that they had not vacated their seats as declared by Sivakumar.
Ridwan had, on three occasions (March 3, 5 and 11), ruled that Sivakumar, being a state public servant drawing his salary from the state, must only engage the services of the state legal adviser and cannot be represented by private lawyers.
On March 11, he had ruled that Sivakumar cannot even represent himself against the suit by the three assemblymen.
However, Sivakumar had applied against the rulings by Ridwan in the Court of Appeals in Kuala Lumpur, which overturned Ridwan’s decisions on March 13.
The court had ruled that there is no provision in any law that the speaker must be represented by the state legal adviser and also that Sivakumar is not a state officer or an officer of a government of the state under section 24(3) of the Government Proceedings Act 1956.
In High Court (2), judge Balia Yusof Wahi will rule whether he will allow the six intervention application by three former Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillors and three registered voters.
The three former exco member -- A. Sivanesan (Sungkai), Tai Sing Ng (Kuala Sepatang) and Chen Fook Chye (Keranji) -- claimed that the resignation of Osman, Jamaluddin and Hee, which resulted in the takeover of the state government by Barisan Nasional, had cost them their posts and their income.
They also claimed that since they are registered voters and taxpayers in Perak, they should be allowed to join in as interveners in the proceedings filed by Osman, Jamaluddin and Hee.