PUTRAJAYA: A three-man bench of the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, today (22 May) declared Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the rightful menteri besar of Perak.
The court held that the order made by the High Court on May 11, in declaring Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the legitimate menteri besar, was wrong and set aside that decision.
"The learned High Court judge had failed to properly and adequately appreciate the entire evidence before him, and that rendered the decision as wrong," said Justice Datuk Md Raus Shariff, who sat with Justices Datuk Zainun Ali and Datuk Ahmad Maarop.
Both Mohammad Nizar and Zambry were not present in court today.
Justice Md Raus, in his oral judgement, also held that the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, was right in appointing Zambry as the new menteri besar, under Article 16(2) of the Perak Constitution, after being satisfied that Zambry had the command of the majority of the state legislative assembly.
"We hold the view that the granting or the withholding of the request for the dissolution of the state legislative assembly is the royal prerogative.
"On the facts of this case, the request for the dissolution of the state legislative assembly was made under Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution and not under Article 36 of the constitution," said Justice Md Raus in allowing Zambry's appeal against the High Court decision.
Justice Md Raus further held that the Sultan of Perak was right in making enquiry to satisfy himself that the respondent (Mohammad Nizar) had ceased to command the majority confidence.
The fact that Mohammad Nizar had ceased to command the majority confidence could be obtained or established alternatively, he said.
"There is no mandatory or express requirement in the Perak Constitution that provides that there must be a motion of no-confidence to be tabled against the respondent before deciding that he had ceased to command the majority confidence of the state legislative assembly," he said.
Zambry, whose leading counsel was Datuk Cecil Abraham, filed an appeal on May 12, with 24 grounds of appeal, against High Court judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim's decision in ruling that Mohammad Nizar did not vacate the office of menteri besar as he had not lost the majority confidence of the state legislative assembly.
On the same day, his application for a stay of the High Court order was heard and allowed by Appeal Court judge Datuk Ramly Ali, sending Zambry back to the office of menteri besar.
The following day, Mohammad Nizar filed an application to set aside the stay order and requested for a panel of five Appeal Court judges to hear the proceedings, which was refused yesterday.
After the decision was delivered, Sulaiman Abdullah, the leading counsel for Mohammad Nizar, requested the court for the written judgement for the purpose of appealing to the Federal Court.
"We appreciate that the court had gone through the facts of this case and made the decision within one night.
"I have instructions from my client (Mohammad Nizar) to seek leave to appeal against the decision to the Federal Court. We would appreciate if the court could issue the written judgement as soon as possible," he said.
Justice Md Raus replied, "I tried to write the judgement last night. I would arrange to give the grounds of the written judgement. I can do it in a week."
Justice Md Raus also dismissed Mohammad Nizar's application to set aside the stay order granted by Justice Ramly Ali.
More than 50 journalists had gathered as early as 1.30 p.m. in front of the courtroom but were told to queue up to get passes, limited to only 15 seats.
The other journalists as well as the 200 over supporters of Zambry and Mohammad Nizar, who failed to get seats, started arguing and disputing the order issued by the police, but had no choice than to stay out of the courtroom.
Moments after the court announced its decision and counsel Sulaiman Abdullah walked out of the courtroom, Mohammad Nizar's supporters started clapping and cheering: "Hidup Nizar! Hidup Sulaiman!" (Long Live Nizar! Long Live Sulaiman). (Bernama)