April 14, 2009
PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has ruled that Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and all six state executive council members used the right procedure in challenging State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar’s suspension order against them, and that it has the authority to hear their application seeking to lift the suspension.
Sivakumar, who headed the Committee of Special Privileges, had on Feb 18 suspended the seven and barred them from attending state assembly sittings for allegedly showing contempt for the House.
Dr Zambry was suspended for 18 months while his six exco members were suspended for 12 months each.
Dr Zambry and the six then filed an originating summons at the Ipoh High Court on March 2 seeking a declaration that the suspension order was illegal.
The seven sought a declaration that they were entitled to attend and take part in all assembly sittings and to carry out their duties.
They posed questions of law to the apex court in relation to the interpretation of the Perak State Constitution read together with Standing Orders of the Perak legislature and the Privileges Enactment. They wanted to court to determine if the Speaker had the power to suspend them.
On Monday, the apex court heard submissions by Sivakumar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, Attorney-General’s Chambers representative Senior Federal Counsel Azizah Nawawi and the seven’s lead counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin.
The ruling on Tuesday morning was made by a five-man panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and included Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Arifin Zakaria, Federal Court Justices Nik Hashim Nik Ab. Rahman, S. Augustine Paul and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.
Justice Alauddin, in delivering the unanimous decision, said Dr Zambry and his six exco members were entitled to bring the action by way of a declaration.
The Court earlier rejected a preliminary objection by Sivakumar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah and proceeded to hear the merits of the case.