Court to decide on Malaysian Indian speaker’s ruling

April 14th, 2009 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, April 14 (IANS) Malaysia’s Federal Court Tuesday intervened in a constitutional dispute by hearing petitions challenging the ruling of an ethnic Indian state assembly speaker who suspended a chief minister and the entire cabinet two months ago.
Perak state’s Mentri Besar (chief minister) Zambry Abdul Qadir and all six state executive council members (ministers) had used the right procedure in challenging Speaker V. Sivakumar’s ruling, Star Online reported.

Sivakumar, who headed the Committee of Special Privileges, Feb 18 suspended them and barred them from attending state assembly proceedings for allegedly showing contempt for the house.

Sivakumar is the first presiding officer from among the ethnic Indians who, at two million-plus, form eight percent of Malaysia’s population.

Qadir was suspended for 18 months while his six ministers were suspended for 12 months each.

They filed a case at the Ipoh High Court March 2, seeking a declaration that the suspension order was illegal.

They contended that they were entitled to attend and participate in all assembly sittings and to carry out their duties.

They wanted to court to determine if the speaker had the power to suspend them.

The dispute has its genesis in the change of the government in Perak state after the earlier government lost majority in the house due to defections.

Sivakumar said he did not recognise the new government.

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