[quote=“The Malaysian Insider”]KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 Sparks flew from the get-go at the High Court this morning in the Menteri Besar vs Menteri Besar case pitting Pakatan Rakyat’s Datuk Seri Mohammed Nizar Jamaluddin against Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Nizar, represented by an eight-member legal team led by Sulaiman Abdullah, immediately moved to disqualify Perak State Legal Advisor Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid from acting as the lawyer for Zambry.
As expected, Sulaiman objected on the grounds that Zambry was sued in his personal capacity and not officially as the MB of Perak and had no right to use the state’s resources, including its state legal advisor.
He added that Ahmad Kamal had no “locus” or standing to be the Zambry’s counsel in the case.
Ahmad Kamal countered that Sulaiman’s objection was “premature” as he had yet to receive an affidavit from Nizar supporting his claims.
The sitting judge in the Appellate and Special Powers division, Justice Mohamad Ariff Yusof, also confounded the court when he volunteered to step down from hearing the case on the basis he had acted as legal advisor and counsel to Pas, PKR and Barisan Nasional on several legal matters in the past before he became a judicial commissioner.
Ariff explained he felt the need to recuse himself to preserve the integrity of the judicial institution and maintain the impartiality of the court so that justice may be seen to be done, saying that the interest of the public was paramount.
“If you ask me, personally, I feel I should recuse myself,” Ariff said, but added several other options the contending parties could take included taking the matter directly to the Federal Court “in the interest of speed and finality”.
Ahmad Kamal supported Ariff’s suggestion.
He explained that Zambry had given him instructions to ask the judge to recuse himself and to ask that the case be transferred or be heard at the Ipoh High Court on grounds that Zambry and Nizar both live there and the fact that the case involves the Perak government and holds interest to the people of Perak.
Sulaiman disagreed with Ariff’s proposal to remove himself from overseeing the case. He also objected against the transfer to Ipoh, arguing the need for the case to be heard on “neutral territory and before a specialised court… dealing with judicial reviews”.
He reminded Ariff that he had a duty to uphold justice and his suggestion to recuse himself could be seen as evading his duty.
Sulaiman added that Ariff’s voluntary admission earlier proved that he would not be likely to be biased towards either Nizar or Zambry in this case.
Ariff postponed setting the date of mention to Feb 23.
He told the court he wants the views from the Attorney-General’s Chambers first on his own suggestion to recuse himself; the idea to move the case straight to the Federal Court; and the contention over the legal standing of Ahmad Kamal in representing Zambry.[/quote]