Constitutional Law expert Professor Aziz A. Bari disputed the stand taken by another Constitutional Law expert, Associate Prof Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz , who said that a vote of no-confidence was not necessarily needed to prove that Mohd Nizar had lost the support of the majority in the assembly.
Shamrahayu was quoted in Bernama yesterday as saying that political circumstances may prove there was NO need for a vote of no-confidence at all.
Professor Aziz A. Bari today said that the Sultan of Perak had NO powers under the state constitution to "hire or fire" a menteri besar. That was the position BEFORE independence.
The POST-Merdeka constitution made it very clear that the menteri besar does NOT hold office at the sultan's pleasure, he added.
Aziz said that such a power was with the sultan BEFORE the independence when the menteri besar was deemed to be a civil servant appointed by the sultan as a matter of prerogative.
"The state constitution, along with the federal constitution, states that the menteri besar holds the office at the sultan's pleasure subject to the provision of the menteri besar holding the confidence in the state assembly.
The important factor to consider here is Article 16(6) of the Perak constitution which states that the menteri besar shall only step down if he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly.
"And that too only unless at his request, the sultan dissolves the legislative assembly."
"The pre-independence MBs were not elected. This was changed in 1959, the first general elections after independence," he added.
A constitutional debate is raging at the moment following a change in the majority in the Perak state assembly in favour of Barisan Nasional courtesy of four defections.
Aziz was disputing media reports which had quoted other experts as saying that Sultan Azlan Shah had the power to ask Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin to step down.
Associate professor Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz was quoted in Bernama yesterday as saying a motion of no-confidence could be established through a vote of no-confidence at the state legislative assembly OR could arise from "extraneous circumstances" that may imply that the elected representatives no longer had the confidence in the menteri besar.
She said the statement by the sultan as well as the defectors from Pakatan, who later declared their support for BN, were indication enough of a no-confidence vote against Mohd Nizar.
She cited the case of Amir Kahar Mustapha vs Tun Mohd Said Keruak in 1994, which involved former Sabah chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan when there were several defections from his party after the 1994 general election.
Shamrahayu said the court ruled that the circumstances showed there was no more confidence in Pairin Kitingan, leading the latter to tender his resignation. She said, as quoted by Bernama:
Responding today, Aziz Bari said that the case law used by Shamrahayu was NOT applicable in the Perak standoff. He said,
"I think this should be the argument on behalf of the sultan, (that he had come to the conclusion) after meeting members of the Perak BN and the defectors who expressed support for BN.
Although we do not know what had transpired exactly, I believe the decision made was in the Sultan's wisdom."
"The Sabah case mentioned by her did not deal directly with the question of confidence. In that case the chief minister himself tendered resignation after his party members deserted him"He added that the case which one should look at is the Stephen Kalong Ningkan's case (1966), in which the court held that the existence of confidence was to be tested on the floor of the legislature.