09 February, 2010

MB VS MB: The winner - "BN and the frogs".

Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim described the Federal Court’s ruling favouring the Barisan Nasional-led (BN) Perak government as an embarrassment.

“It’s warped legal reasoning. Like I said before these people for political expediency have abandoned legal principles,” Zaid told The Malaysian Insider.

In a 5-0 ruling, the Federal Court earlier today declared Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir as the legitimate Perak mentri besar, ending the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) attempt to regain control of the state which it lost about one year ago.

The five-man panel of judges comprised Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria and Justices Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Datuk Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff, and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong also ruled that a vote at the state assembly was not necessary to determine whether ousted Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin still enjoyed the support of the majority of the state lawmakers.

“The implication to our democracy is this. Whatever decision, not only the appointment must be approved by the monarch as the case in Terengganu, but also the dismissal of Mentri Besar as the case in Perak, must also be approved by the monarch,” said Zaid referring to the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Said as the Terengganu mentri besar in 2008 despite the opposition from the majority of the Barisan Nasional state lawmakers.

The Federal Court decision today will lead to a situation where there could be “absolute monarchy” in Malaysia, claimed former menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

He said there will be no need to hold elections, since the ruler can decide on who can lead the executive at state or federal level.

“This is the highest risk the country is facing now, (and) which we need to correct. The verdict I felt has set aside the principles of what (is) already in our federal constitution.”

Nizar also said he has not decided whether or not to file a review against the decision which declared BN's Zambry Abd Kadir the lawful menteri besar of Perak.
"We will scrutinise the written judgment and then decide," he said, calling for calm among supporters.

"This is the saddest day (for) Malaysia as this shows the judiciary is not independent. Our target now is to win back Perak.

The state political crisis started one year ago when four PR assemblymen declared their support for BN, giving it a three-seat majority in the 59-member assembly.

Nizar later advised the Perak Sultan to dissolve the state assembly to pave the way for state elections but the monarch asked for the PAS man’s resignation and subsequently installed a BN-led government.

Nizar then mounted a legal challenge to Zambry’s appointment and won at the High Court, which noted that there was a loophole in the Perak Constitution to allow for another to be sworn in as mentri besar (MB) when the incumbent had not resigned.

In his decision on May 9 last year, High Court judge Abdul Aziz Rahim ruled that the Sultan was not constitutionally empowered to sack the MB, and that Nizar had always been the lawful head of the state government.

But the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal later that month.

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