Majlis Peguam Malaysia mempertikaikan keputusan melarang peguam persendirian mewakili Speaker DUN Perak V Sivakumar seperti diputuskan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Ipoh hari ini.
Presidennya S Ambiga berkata keputusan mewajibkan penasihat undang-undang negeri mewakili Sivakumar, boleh mencemarkan prosiding yang membabitkan pertelingkahan antara BN dan Pakatan Rakyat.
Pesuruhjaya Kehakiman Ridwan Ibrahim memutuskan demikian susulan permohonan peguam Menteri Besar, Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir dan enam exco kerajaan negeri, berhubung penggantungan mereka daripada menghadiri sidang DUN.
Ambiga berkata, dua perkara haruslah diambil kira dalam isu ini. Pertama, setiap peguam bertindak mengikut arahan anak guamnya dan dalam kes ini, tambah Ambiga, Sivakumar tidak pernah meminta penasihat undang-undang negeri berbuat demikian.
Kedua, penasihat undang-undang sendiri berada dalam kedudukan konflik kerana beliau mewakili Dr Zambry dalam kes menteri besar Pakatan Rakyat, Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin mencabar kesahihan pelantikan wakil rakyat BN itu.
"Bagaimana mungkin beliau (penasihat) atau jabatannya boleh bertindak bagi pihak Speaker yang dicabar oleh Dr Zambry?" kata Ambiga dalam satu kenyataan.
"Wajar diingatkan, keadilan bukan sahaja perlu ditegakkan tetapi perlu dilihat telah ditegakkan. Mahkamah bertanggungjawab menegakkan prinsip tertinggi keadilan, kesaksamaaan dan kebebasan."
Ambiga juga menyifatkan Speaker tidak mempunyai pilihan kecuali terus mengadakan sidang tergempar DUN di luar bangunan rasminya setelah dihalang oleh polis. Kesahan tindakan polis ini membangkitkan persoalan yang serius, tambahnya.
Apatah lagi, tegasnya, tindakan polis itu bersandarkan arahan setiausaha DUN yang hanya seorang pegawai pentadbiran yang tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk menafsir sama ada sesuatu persidangan dewan itu sah atau sebaliknya.
"Polis dengan itu telah bertindak secara tidak wajar apabila mencanggahi kehendak Speaker dan DUN. Kesilapan ini diburukkan lagi oleh keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi," kata Ambiga.
Read here for more in Malaysiakini
Constitutional Law expert Professor Aziz A. Bari disputed the stand taken by another Constitutional Law expert, Associate Prof Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz , who said that a vote of no-confidence was not necessarily needed to prove that Mohd Nizar had lost the support of the majority in the assembly.
Shamrahayu was quoted in Bernama yesterday as saying that political circumstances may prove there was NO need for a vote of no-confidence at all.
Professor Aziz A. Bari today said that the Sultan of Perak had NO powers under the state constitution to "hire or fire" a menteri besar. That was the position BEFORE independence.
The POST-Merdeka constitution made it very clear that the menteri besar does NOT hold office at the sultan's pleasure, he added.
"The state constitution, along with the federal constitution, states that the menteri besar holds the office at the sultan's pleasure subject to the provision of the menteri besar holding the confidence in the state assembly.
The important factor to consider here is Article 16(6) of the Perak constitution which states that the menteri besar shall only step down if he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly.
"And that too only unless at his request, the sultan dissolves the legislative assembly." Aziz said that such a power was with the sultan BEFORE the independence when the menteri besar was deemed to be a civil servant appointed by the sultan as a matter of prerogative.
"The pre-independence MBs were not elected. This was changed in 1959, the first general elections after independence," he added.
A constitutional debate is raging at the moment following a change in the majority in the Perak state assembly in favour of Barisan Nasional courtesy of four defections.Aziz was disputing media reports which had quoted other experts as saying that Sultan Azlan Shah had the power to ask Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin to step down.
Associate professor Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz was quoted in Bernama yesterday as saying a motion of no-confidence could be established through a vote of no-confidence at the state legislative assembly OR could arise from "extraneous circumstances" that may imply that the elected representatives no longer had the confidence in the menteri besar.
She said the statement by the sultan as well as the defectors from Pakatan, who later declared their support for BN, were indication enough of a no-confidence vote against Mohd Nizar.
She cited the case of Amir Kahar Mustapha vs Tun Mohd Said Keruak in 1994, which involved former Sabah chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan when there were several defections from his party after the 1994 general election.Shamrahayu said the court ruled that the circumstances showed there was no more confidence in Pairin Kitingan, leading the latter to tender his resignation. She said, as quoted by Bernama:
"I think this should be the argument on behalf of the sultan, (that he had come to the conclusion) after meeting members of the Perak BN and the defectors who expressed support for BN.
Although we do not know what had transpired exactly, I believe the decision made was in the Sultan's wisdom." Responding today, Aziz Bari said that the case law used by Shamrahayu was NOT applicable in the Perak standoff. He said,
"The Sabah case mentioned by her did not deal directly with the question of confidence. In that case the chief minister himself tendered resignation after his party members deserted him" He added that the case which one should look at is the Stephen Kalong Ningkan's case (1966), in which the court held that the existence of confidence was to be tested on the floor of the legislature.
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