PUTRAJAYA: The three-month Perak constitutional crisis is likely to be prolonged indefinitely.
This follows the Federal Court’s unanimous decision yesterday that it was for the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to determine who was the rightful menteri besar of Perak.
“There exists a material fact to be decided (by the court),” Federal Court judge Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff said in allowing a preliminary objection by former menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
Sitting with him were Datuk Arifin Zakaria, Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Datuk Wira Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusof and Datuk James Foong.
This means the High Court will hear submissions and make a ruling on facts and law on the position of a head of state to appoint and dismiss the head of government. Unsuccessful parties could appeal to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.
Nizar’s judicial review application will be heard in the High Court on May 4.
One of the contentious issues would be to decide on the discrepancies in material facts as stated by Nizar and State Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid in their affidavits.
Nizar, in his affidavit, said he requested the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the state legislative assembly on grounds of a deadlock in the house.
Nizar contends that Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional each had 28 assemblymen while another three were independents but friendly to the coalition.
However, Ahmad Kamal stated that the ruler informed Nizar that he had lost the confidence of the majority assemblymen and that he (the sultan) would not accede to the request (by Nizar) to dissolve the house and had ordered Nizar to tender his resignation, which Nizar refused.
Nizar is challenging Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s appointment and has sought several declarations pertaining to interpretation of Article 16(2) and 16(6) of the Perak Constitution.
He also issued a writ of quo warranto asking Zambry to show cause by what authority he was occupying the post of menteri besar.
However on April 23, Zambry filed an application under Article 63 of the Perak Constitution which allows a constitutional issue affecting the state to be heard at first instance by the Federal Court.
At the Federal Court, counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, who is appearing for Nizar, raised a preliminary objection that Zambry’s application was invalid under Article 63 and this matter had to be first decided in the High Court.
Counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham, who represented Zambry, said his client’s application should be heard and disposed of as there was no material discrepancy in facts.
Outside court, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said he would appear as intervener in the High Court next week as a ruling would have far-reaching implications on the states and the federation.
Nizar said the court ruling was “a great victory for the people of Perak” and expressed hope that the state legislative meeting scheduled on May 7 would be postponed.(NST)