The Kuala Lumpur High Court decision yesterday which reinstated Pakatan Rakyat’s Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the legitimate menteri besar of Perak, had in effect made the May 7 state assembly sitting invalid.
And as such all four motions passed during the sitting, including the installation of R Ganesan as the speaker, was also similarly invalid, said Nizar during a press conference at 12.30am this morning at his rented home in Sungai Rokam, near Ipoh.
Nizar added that this was because the court decision had ruled that he was the legitimate menteri besar at all material times, including when Barisan Nasional Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir called for the state assembly sitting.
During the May 7 sitting, BN installed Ganesan as the state assembly speaker under very controversial circumstances which saw incumbent speaker V Sivakumar being forcefully dragged out of the speaker’s chair.
“(Ganesan) did not even take his oath,” Nizar said, adding that Ganesan nor BN had the authority to call for an emergency sitting now.
Ganesan and several other BN leaders have publicly mooted the idea of sacking Nizar as the menteri besar through a vote of no-confidence in an emergency sitting, expected to be called within the next few days.
“As far as we are concerned, they have no right to call for an assembly. How can they call for a sitting when they don’t have the legitimacy to do so?” he asked.
Tree assembly stands
Asked if this would result in an automatic dissolution of the state assembly after May 13, Nizar said that was not an issue because an emergency sitting was already held in March.
(The last sitting before the BN takeover of the Perak government in February was in November last year and the assembly is deemed to be dissolved if no meeting is held for more than six months.)
“Our constitution doesn’t specifically say this. The constitution is silent on this part… We don’t have a problem. We have until September (to hold the sitting) because our last sitting on March 3, under the tree,” he said.
Nizar was referring to the emergency sitting held under a nearby tree after police and civil servants locked up the state assembly to prevent the proceedings.
Zambry had failed to obtain a court ruling to invalidate the tree assembly but later passed a motion during May 7 sitting to declare the sitting illegal.
However, Nizar stressed that his immediate priority now was to seek royal consent for the dissolution of the state assembly to pave way for fresh elections to resolve the state political deadlock.
The Perak sultan and the monarchy have been “embarrassed” by the political imbroglio following BN’s power grab of the state government three months ago, said veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
PERAK SULTAN AND THE MONARCHY, EMBARRASSED BY POLITICAL IMBROGLIO
Razaleigh, who is uncle to the Kelantan sultan, said that the royalty had been hurt by the systematic attempts by some within Umno to inflame the Perak impasse into one of “race and treason”.
At last month’s Bukit Gantang by-election where Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin had stood as a candidate, Umno had accused the ousted menteri besar of treason and described him as a stooge of key coalition partner, the predominantly-Chinese DAP.
“Such attempts only hurt the institutions they claim to protect, and they hurt Umno and BN,” said Razaleigh in his latest blog posting.
Commenting on the court decision yesterday to recognise Nizar as the lawful menteri besar, Razaleigh said the ruling had affirmed the primacy of the constitution.
“According to the constitution, Nizar is menteri besar until he resigns of his own accord, or is removed by a vote of no-confidence in a formal sitting of the assembly. The constitution makes no provision for his removal by any other means, including by petitions or instructions from any other authority.”
Razaleigh hopes that the Perak sultan, who had earlier asked Nizar to resign, would now agreed to the Perak MB’s request to dissolve the assembly and make way for fresh elections in the state.
“This is the decent thing to do, but also the only way out of a crisis which has already spiralled out of Perak, damaged the rule of law, compromised the judiciary, the police and the state civil service, and damaged the monarchy in public opinion.”
Nizar has this morning sought an audience with the Perak regent Nazrin Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, who is standing in for the sultan, who is unavailable.
It’s better for BN to risk state elections
The Umno leader said that Umno’s “constitutional misadventure” will have repercussions.
“The government led by Zambry (Abd Kadir) was all along illegitimate and all decisions and contracts made by that government are without legal status. The cascade of illegalities we warned of must now be unwound painfully.
“This includes the deplorable events of May 7 in Ipoh. It means the resolution to replace the speaker was brought by an illegal state government.”
Razaleigh also ticked off Umno leaders for their political manoeuvres which have brought odium to both the monarchy and country.
“Our ideals are cheated when the monarchy we claim to protect is brought down to the level of desperate political manoeuvres that discredit us at home and abroad. We have no future as a party if we are seen as being against the people rather than for them.
“Those unable to rise above narrow party interests to understand what happens to a country when a government loses respect for the law might still like to consider this: it is better for BN to risk state elections that we may lose rather than to lose the entire country by being seen to be opposed to decency, the rule of law, and the will of the people.”