KUALA LUMPUR, 5 May 2009: Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was not sacked as Perak menteri besar by Sultan Azlan Shah, as his removal from office was lawfully made under Article 16(6) of the state constitution due to loss of confidence of the majority in the state assembly.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail submitted in the High Court here today that the Sultan of Perak performed his duty under the Perak Constitution, and had carefully considered the facts and circumstances before declaring on 5 Feb, that Barisan Nasional (BN) had the majority in the state assembly.
“The Sultan of Perak had clearly performed his function in the most honourable way that I have seen,” said Abdul Gani, who appeared as the intervener in the judicial review proceeding filed by Mohammad Nizar on 13 Feb, this year.
Mohammad Nizar, 52, filed the suit to seek declaration that he is still the rightful menteri besar, and an injunction to bar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, who was appointed menteri besar on 6 Feb, from discharging his duties.
“His Royal Highness, in making sure that there was no irregularities in his decision, had met and interviewed the three assemblypersons, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) to make sure that Barisan Nasional has their support.
“His Royal Highness met all the 31 state legislative assemblypersons who pledged their support to Barisan Nasional,” said Abdul Gani who is leading a team of seven senior federal counsel.
He further submitted that since Mohammad Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority, he must automatically resign from being the menteri besar as provided under Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution.
“The word ‘shall resign’ in Article 16(6) means ‘mandatory’. It is not the intention of the legislature that a menteri besar can choose not to resign.
“If you lost the majority, then what do you do, do you still hang around? The moment he loses his majority, he must resign. We cannot have a menteri besar who is not having the confidence of the majority,” he reasoned.
Abdul Gani said the Sultan never sacked a menteri besar, adding that it was honourable for a menteri besar to resign when he lost the confidence of the majority.
“That’s the law and that is the democratic process,” he said.
Abdul Gani said there was no constitutional provision requiring a motion of no-confidence to be issued before Mohammad Nizar could be removed from office.
“The Sultan of Perak had personally ascertained the facts, by calling the 31 assemblypersons, before arriving at his judgement that the applicant (Mohammad Nizar) had lost confidence of the majority,” he said.
Earlier, Mohammad Nizar who continued with his testimony in the cross-examination proceeding, told the court that he was only aware of the withdrawal of the three assemblypersons’ resignation letters after an audience with the Sultan at 5pm on 4 Feb.
“I only knew about it after I left the palace when my officer informed me over the telephone at 6pm that a news bulletin said that Datuk Seri Najib Razak (now prime minister) claimed the trio hopped to Barisan Nasional and that BN has the majority,” he said.
The proceeding before Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim continues at 3pm. — Bernama