Media statement by Tommy Thomas on 3rd March 2009
On March 1, constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas wrote in the Bar Council's website that, under prevailing circumstances, the the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Perak is entitled in law to convene the Legislative Assembly fixed for today, March 03, 2009.
The counsel formed his opinion based on factual basis and provisions available on the State Constitution of Perak and the Standing Orders of the State Legislative Assembly.
The key issue lies on whether the last meeting of the Assembly in November 2008 was prorogued (“di-berhentikan”) or adjourned (“di-tangguhkan”).
If it was prorogued, only the Sultan of Perak (“HRH”) can summon the Assembly: if it was adjourned, then the Speaker can convene.
According to instructions given to him, Thomas said what was adjourned sine die in November 2008, was the Third Sitting of the First Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly of Perak. Hence the Speaker's rightful right to recall the assembly into session.
The emergency sitting of the Perak State Assembly was convened this morning, with three motions passed by the 28 members who attended it.
The original Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said after the sitting that three motions were passed as follows:
- 1st, a motion of confidence in Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as the legal Perak mentri besar;
- 2nd, an agreement to seek Royal consent for the dissolution of the state assembly; and
- 3rd, the adoption of the suspension of Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the menteri besar and six executive councillors he appointed.
Mohd Nizar said he will try to seek an audience with Perak Sultan Azlan Shah as soon as possible to convey the assembly’s resolutions.
Should the sultan not recognise the legitimacy of the sitting and not grant consent for the dissolution of the state assembly, Mohd Nizar said Pakatan would do whatever necessary within the confines of the law.
Interestingly, the sitting was held under a tree in a vacant lot about 200m from the state secretariat building -- an abject circumstance that Nizar described as the “doctrine of necessity". Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen were barred by the Police from entering the building that housed the State Assembly