Archive for March 10th, 2009

“Perak Speaker must be represented by State Legal Adviser” – Government Proceedings Act 1956 Irrelevant

(By CKO, an Advocate practicing in Sabah, who has no political affiliation.)

1. Much has been said on the recent legal battles in Perak in the first week of March 2009, including the decision of the Ipoh High Court to grant an Order against the Speaker under Section 44(1) of the Specific Relief Act 1956. The Ipoh High Court apparently has ruled that because of the Government Proceedings Act 1956 (“GPA”), the State Assembly Speaker must be represented by the State Legal Advisor in the relevant legal proceedings. However, it is my humble view that the GPA was not applicable at all.

State Speaker Must be Represented by the State Legal Advisor?

2. There is no official report yet on the actual legal basis for the High Court’s rulings on this point, so we can only rely on the press reports. It has been reported that:-

“Mohd Hafarizam had argued that the Speaker’s own lawyers could not represent him as he was considered “part of the government”, and therefore only the state legal adviser could act for the Speaker and State Assembly members.”

(Speaker restrained from convening ‘State Assembly meetings’; The Star, Wednesday, March 4, 2009)

“Datuk Hafarizam Harun, who is leading the lawyers representing the three independent state representatives who switched to support Barisan Nasional, said Sivakumar could use private lawyers only if he resigns.

“Then we can elect a new speaker from the Barisan Nasional,” Hafarizam said, reflecting Barisan Nasional’s strategy to oust the speaker.

He added that Sivakumar had no choice but to use the SLA even if he had no faith in that person. “The prime minister also has to use the Attorney-General. It is not a matter of choice.””

(High Court: Sivakumar must be represented by state legal adviser; The Malaysian Insider, Thursday, March 5, 2009)

3. Presumably, such a sweeping argument made by the lawyers representing the Perak Barisan Nasional was based on Section 24 of the GPA:- Read the rest of this entry »