Perak Opposition leader sues to annul state Speaker’s appointment

Perak Opposition leader Abdul Aziz Bari speaks to reporters at the Addon White Coffee restaurant in Ipoh June 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Opposition leader Abdul Aziz Bari speaks to reporters at the Addon White Coffee restaurant in Ipoh June 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Aug 26 — Perak Opposition leader Abdul Aziz Bari has applied for the High Court to invalidate the appointment of the new Speaker of the state assembly and to declare the position to still be vacant since the resignation of Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham on May 12.

The Tebing Tinggi assemblyman asserted in a statement today that all assembly matters since Ngeh’s resignation were consequently null and void.

He said the application was filed on August 13 and the court has fixed September 1 for case management.

“According to the State Constitution, no business can be done after the vacancy of the State Speaker.

“Permanent Order 4 of the state assembly’s standing orders provides that at least seven days notice must be submitted for the nomination of any person before the election of the State Speaker is made.  

“The defendant, Datuk Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid, was only nominated four days before the Perak State Assembly sitting on May 12,” he explained.

Citing Ngeh’s remarks in the assembly on May 12, Aziz Bari asserted that the Speaker should have been elected instead of appointed.

He also said all state assemblymen should have been given the opportunity to name their candidates at least seven days before the assembly convened.

“PH Perak hopes that the payment of emoluments and all the facilities of the Speaker of the State Assembly will not be given to Mohamad Zahir until the court makes the final decision in this case,” he added.

During the previous meeting of the assembly, Ngeh adjourned matters without giving way for the appointment of a new Speaker as he said proposals for his replacement should be submitted in writing seven days before the start of proceedings.

This triggered uproar as Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that the meeting may not be adjourned without a new Speaker being named.

However, all Opposition assemblymen led by Aziz Bari walked out of the sitting.

Ahmad Faizal proceeded to nominate Sungai Manik assemblyman Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin, who is also his adviser, to temporarily chair the session.

Ahmad Faizal then proposed Mohammad Zahir as the new Speaker, which was adopted by all the Perikatan Nasional assemblymen and Independent assemblyman.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Zahir when contacted said that Aziz Bari has every right to file an application to the court for such matters which is provided by the law.

“Nevertheless, we have a different opinion and this is not the first time that the Perak State Assembly Speaker has been changed mid-term.

“I believe that my appointment as the Speaker is valid as provided under the Perak State Constitution,” he said.

“And since it has been referred to the court, let us allow and respect the due legal process to take its course,” he added.

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