April 1, 2009 By M. MAGESWARY
KUALA LUMPUR: The leave application by former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Jamaluddin to challenge the legitimacy of his successor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir will be heard before a new judge on Thursday. High Court Justice Aziz Abdul Rahim will replace Justice Lau Bee Lan.
Court officials said it was an internal change and gave no reason for the change.
On March 10, Justice Lau had ruled that the four constitutional questions, raised by Nizar in his Feb 13 suit challenging Zambry’s legitimacy, must be determined by the Federal Court.
However, on March 23, The Federal Court ruled that the case of who the rightful Mentri Besar of Perak is should be heard by the High Court.
The Federal Court ruled that issues involving the interpretation of Article 16 (6) of the Perak Constitution must be heard and decided at the High Court and can only be brought to the Federal Court by way of appeal.
The five-member bench presided by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff made the decision after allowing a preliminary objection by Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's lead counsel, Sulaiman Abdullah, that the Federal Court was not seised of jurisdiction to hear the four questions to be referred to it for determination.
In the unanimous decision, Justice Alauddin said the High Court judge had no power to make the order for the four questions to be referred to the Federal Court under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA) because that section was confined to the Federal Constitution and not the state constitution.
He then set aside all the orders made by the Court of Appeal on March 20 including that which ruled that the four questions must be heard and decided by the Federal Court and remitted the case to the High Court, before the same judge, Lau Bee Lan.