By Param Cumaraswamy
MAY 12 - Following yesterday’s decision by the High Court the people of Perak have missed the opportunity to have the State Legislative Assembly dissolved by the Sultan of Perak and to enable them to elect a government.
It will be a matter of concern to an average citizen over how the Court of Appeal presided by one judge could overturn a decision of the High Court judge yesterday when he refused to grant a stay of execution without there being before the Court a formal application to that effect.
The contention by Zambry’s counsel, and supported by the Attorney General, that if the Sultan of Perak had dissolved the Legislative Assembly then Zambry’s appeal would be academic is hard to accept.
What is at stake in Perak today is fundamental democratic values. With the prevailing impasse over who is the rightful government, is not the will of the rakyat of Perak more important than the ruling of a court of law?
Following yesterday’s decision by the High Court, the Prime Minister, being also the head of Barisan Nasional, should have supported the calls of many to urge the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the Legislative Assembly in the interest of democracy and the rule of law. Why is he and his party fearful of fresh elections in Perak? Eventually, elections there would be inevitable.
* Param Cumaraswamy is a former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers