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Legal Adviser Must Represent Speaker

IPOH: The High Court here has ruled that the Perak legal adviser must represent state speaker V. Sivakumar in the two civil suits against him.

Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim said Sivakumar is a public officer with public duties and should rightfully be represented by the state legal adviser.

The panel of Pakatan Rakyat lawyers, who had showed up as counsel for Sivakumar, did not have local standi to act on his behalf, he added.

Legal team:Lawyers representing Dr Zambry, his six exco members and the three independent assemblymen- (from lef) Mohd Hafarizam , Riza Hassan, Faizul Hilmi Ahmad Zamri, Abu Bakar Al Sidiq, Syed Faizal Syed Abdullah and Badrul Hishah Abdul Wahab – leaving the Ipoh High Court Thursday.

The ruling was made after Ridwan heard submissions on preliminary objections raised in the two suits in his chambers yesterday.

The first suit was filed on Feb 27 by three independents seeking a declaration that they are still elected representatives, and the other was filed on March 2 by Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his six exco members challenging Sivakumar’s decision to suspend them from the state assembly.

According to the plaintiff’s lead counsel, Umno legal adviser Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, the judicial commissioner had given two grounds for his decision.

The first was the test of payment – although the Speaker was not paid by ordinary public services commission, he was paid under the consolidated funds of the state.

Secondly, the preamble of the Perak Constitution stated that the state government is defined as the executive council and the legislative assembly.

Meanwhile, the court also allowed an application by the Election Commission to be included as intervener in the suit by the three independents.

The case would be heard on March 11 while the suit by Dr Zambry and his exco members on March 23.

Asked if the Pakatan lawyers would be appealing yesterday’s decision on the preliminary objections, another lawyer Chan Kok Keong said they would definitely do so.

Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham later questioned the fairness of allowing Dr Zambry to engage his own lawyers when Sivakumar could not.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Ngeh also criticised the police for accepting the interpretation of the law from the state assembly secretary instead of listening to the speaker.

He also called on Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hasan to change the police team in Ipoh, including the state police chief.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Datuk Param Cumaraswamy meanwhile urged the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah to dissolve the state assembly.

He said the rule of law in the state would be in jeopardy and anarchy would reign if the crisis was not tackled.