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The Federal Court will hear toppled Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s appeal to be reinstated next month. The Federal Court registrar today fixed July 9 and 10 to hear his application for leave. Accompanied by his lawyer and a handful of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters wearing black headbands with gold-thread saying “Bubar DUN”(Dissolve the State Legislative Assembly), Nizar filed the appeal in person, dressed in a smart silver baju Melayu and black and gold kain pelikat. He had earlier attended Friday prayers at the nearby federal territory mosque.

He is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s decision on May 22 declaring his Barisan Nasional (BN) archrival Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir the rightful mentri besar (MB) of Perak. Nizar wants the top court to set aside the court of appeal’s decision and uphold an earlier high court decision declaring him the MB. Nizar said it was “regrettable” he had to file the appeal without being first given the grounds of judgment by the Court of Appeal as a reference point. He highlighted that the three-man panel had promised to deliver their written judgment within a week of their oral verdict but had failed to do so even on the date of his filing today.

Without it, he said, his legal team is handicapped. “They are quick to make judgments but slow to make the grounds,” Nizar said. Asked if he would be deprived of justice considering the judiciary’s behaviour, Nizar answered that he still believed the judicial institution was independent and neutral. “I’m not writing off all judges,” he was careful to add. The ex-MB also asked the Chief Justice (CJ) to set up the full panel of Federal Court judges to hear his case, which deals with crucial constitutional matters.

“Malaysians everywhere are eager for an impartial judgment of the law and I ask for no more and I believe I am entitled to no less,” he told reporters in a press conference. He added that a full bench would “dispel any suspicion of bias or judge picking” and show the judicial institution is independent. Nizar originally wanted 11 judges on the bench. But the Federal Court registrar confirmed there will only be 10 Federal Court judges available next month, including the CJ Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, as Justice Tan Sri Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman is retiring.

Unless the CJ empowers judges from the Court of Appeal, the maximum number on the bench will be nine. The panel of judges must be odd-numbered, in case of a tie. The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in his favour on May 11. Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim in his written judgment explained that the MB can only be lawfully replaced if he resigns from his post or is ousted through a vote of no-confidence in the State Legislative Assembly. To date, it remains the only written judgment available.


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