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Friday, April 3, 2009

> High Court allows A-G to be intervener in suit

The High Court here today allowed the application by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to be an intervener in the suit brought by Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six state executive councillors against Perak State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar for suspending them from state assembly sittings.

Sivakumar, as chairman of the state assembly’s rights and privileges committee, had suspended Zambry and the six executive councillors for 18 months and 12 months each, respectively, for contempt of the House.

Zambry and the exco members are suing Sivakumar for making an illegal ruling and contend that they should be allowed to attend the state assembly sittings.

High Court judge Datuk Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim made the ruling after hearing the arguments by lawyers for Sivakumar and Gani.

Sivakumar’s lead lawyer, Tommy Thomas, had argued that the suit is between the legislator and members of the House and has nothing to do with the executive participation in the case.

However, Gani argued that as he is the "guardian of public interest", he has an interest in the case.

In the afternoon, Thomas urged the court to strike out the application by Zambry and the exco members against Sivakumar "as the proceedings of the legislative assembly are beyond judicial scrutiny".

He said Article 72 of the Federal Constitution, read together with paragraph 3 of the Legislative Assembly (Privileges) Enactment 1959, makes it clear that as members of the legislative assembly, the proceedings are protected by immunity from civil or criminal proceedings "for anything said or done".

Thomas said the order to suspend Zamry and the exco members was adopted by the state assembly sitting under a tree on March 3, "which is legal in law".

Wan Afrah fixed April 9 for the continuation of the hearing.

Today's court proceedings were held behind closed doors and the media and public were barred from the hearing.

Nga Hock Cheh, one of the laweyers representing Sivakumar, briefed the media on the hearing after the postponement of the case.

In addition to Thomas and Nga, the lawyers appearing for Sivakumar were Chan Kok Keong, Leong Cheok Keng and Mohd Asri Osman.

Zambry and the exco members were represented by Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Haron, Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin , Abu Bakar As-Sidek Mohd Sidek, Badrul Hishah Abdul Wahap, Faizul Hilmy Ahmad Zamri and Syed Faisal Syed Abdullah - theSun.