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Friday February 6, 2009

Bar: Don’t challenge Sultan’s decision


KUALA LUMPUR: The Perak Sultan’s decision not to consent to the dissolution of the State Assembly is absolute and cannot be challenged in court, said Bar Council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.

“Based on the Perak Constitution it is the Sultan’s prerogative and it can’t be challenged. There is legal opinion that this is non-justiciable,” Ambiga said, adding that she had yet to read the Sultan’s full statement.

“This is a new situation for everyone,” she said.

However, she said the validity of the resignation letters of Behrang assemblyman Jamalud—din Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu — whether valid or not — could be brought to court.

Another issue — whether the Election Commission could decide on whether to hold by-elections — could also be brought to court, she said.

The Bar Council chief also said the new state government, formed via party hopping, was “legally permissible.”

However, morality was another issue, she added.

“There may be good reasons that politicians want to cross over but having gone through elections and people take the trouble to vote for you, maybe it is time to look at an anti-hopping law.

“If you look at moral and ethical points of view, one should not defeat the mandate and wishes of the people. But the legal position is, you can cross,” she told reporters after attending the 14th convocation ceremony at PWTC where 286 law graduates passed the Certificate of Legal Practice Examination of the Legal Profession Qualifying Board.

Veteran lawyer Karpal Singh, when contacted, said he was studying the possibility of challenging the Sultan’s decision in court.

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