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2009/02/06
Nizar has no choice but to resign, says Bar Council head

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Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says Pakatan Rakyat can challenge the Election Commission’s decision not to call for a by-election
Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says Pakatan Rakyat can challenge the Election Commission’s decision not to call for a by-election

KUALA LUMPUR: Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has no choice but to resign, the Bar Council head said.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak had acted within the provisions of the state constitution in not agreeing to the dissolution of the state assembly and in asking Nizar to quit.

"The constitution says that if the MB does not command a majority in the state assembly and his request to dissolve the state assembly is not granted by the sultan, then he will have to tender the resignation of the exco, including himself."

Ambiga said it was the sultan who appointed the menteri besar, who in his judgment, was likely to command the confidence of the majority of the assembly.

"These provisions are similar to those in the Federal Constitution and, in this case, the ruler seemed to be satisfied that he (Nizar) does not command the majority."
She added that going by the plain reading of the language in the constitution, Nizar had no choice, adding it was a difficult situation, especially since this was uncharted territory.

As for the crossovers, she said it was permissible by law to switch camps.

"Legally, it is right, but some will say that it is morally and ethically wrong because it does not reflect the true desire of the people."

Ambiga, however, added that the recourse for the Pakatan Rakyat government was to challenge the Election Commission's decision not to call for a by-election, and also to get the court to declare that the resignation letters by the defecting assemblymen were valid.



Meanwhile, a retired judge said the three independent assemblymen in Perak were the "deciding factor" of the fate of the Perak government.

Barisan Nasional, with its 28 assemblymen and the support of the three Independents, now has a majority in the state legislative assembly.

The judge, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Nizar was technically leading a minority government with 28 assemblymen.

"Rightfully, he has to tender his resignation together with his state executive councillors to the sultan."

He said the sultan could not sack the menteri besar but he would have to vacate office because he had lost the majority in the house.

"The sultan had the prerogative to appoint a menteri besar. It was also implied that the ruler could remove him from office if in the judgment of the ruler, the menteri besar did not command the support of the majority in the house."

He said there could be instability in the state if Nizar refused to hand over the government to the majority.

 



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