Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nizar vs Zambry: Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR: High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Arif Md Yusof has offered to recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit filed by former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin against his successor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The suit was filed after the Pakatan Rakyat government lost the state to Barisan Nasional with the resignation of three assemblymen from their parties, and the defection of a fourth.

Nizar wants the court, by way of judicial review, to declare him the legitimate mentri besar and for an injunction to stop Dr Zambry or his agents from carrying out the duties and functions of the mentri besar.

At the onset of the proceedings Wednesday, Mohamad Arif said he has been a legal advisor and counsel for PAS on a number of election petition cases. Nizar is a member of PAS, which together with PKR and DAP, makes up the Pakatan alliance.

“I have also been involved in PAS legal matters from time to time, and have advised PKR on legal issues,” Mohamad Arif said.

“I have also acted for Barisan in an election petition in Sarawak,” he added.

“I tend to think that to preserve justice and the integrity of the institution, perhaps I should recuse myself from hearing this matter,” he said.

He set Feb 23 for counsel from both sides to brief him on whether they had any objection to him hearing the matter, as well as on two other issues:

First, whether the matter should be referred to the Federal Court over the question of law for determination and finality, over intepretation of Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution.

Second, on the standing of Perak’s state legal advisor Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid acting as counsel for the respondent since Dr Zambry is being sued in his personal capacity.

The five-page suit, filed last Friday, also asks for “punitive, aggravated and exemplary” damages to be awarded to Nizar.

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