Malaysian Indian speaker can engage own lawyer: court

March 13th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, March 13 (IANS) The Indian origin speaker of Malaysia’s Perak state assembly, V. Sivakumar Friday won an appeal in court to appoint his own lawyer to fight suits filed by two parties, instead of being represented by the state legal adviser.
The Court of Appeal said there “is no provision in any law that the speaker must be represented by the state legal adviser. (He) is not a state officer or a government of the state under Section 24(3) of the Government Proceedings Act 1956″, the Star newspaper reported.

“We uphold that the speaker is at liberty to engage his own private advocate and solicitor,” said Justice Mohammed Raus Sharif who sat with Justices Abdull Hamid Embong and Ahmad Ma’arop.

The ruling overturned the orders given by Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim March 3, 5 and 11, insisting that Sivakumar could only be represented by Perak state’s legal adviser.

He said that Sivakumar, as the presiding officer of the legislature, was “part of the government”.

The ruling gives a fresh twist to the ongoing controversy on Sivakumar’s action last month of suspending from the legislature Perak Chief Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir and all six of his ministers.

Sivakumar wanted his own counsel to represent him in the suit filed against him by the chief ministers, the ministers and three independents whom he had expelled.

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