Ex-Malacca CM Adly files legal challenge against state assembly dissolution

Four respondents named in the leave application.

Former Malacca chief minister Adly Zahari went to court today to challenge the dissolution of the Malacca state legislative assembly earlier this month.

At the Kuala Lumpur High Court this afternoon, his lawyer Razlan Hadri confirmed to the media about the filing of the judicial review leave application.

“The legal action is over the dissolution (of Malacca state assembly), and the position of the caretaker chief minister (Sulaiman Md Ali) will be raised.

“According to the (state) gazette (dated Oct 5), he (Malacca Governor Mohd Ali Rustam) was advised by Sulaiman (to dissolve the state assembly).

“We wish to see (through the legal action) whether or not Sulaiman can give such advice,” Razlan said.

The judicial review leave application named Sulaiman, the state assembly speaker Ab Rauf Yusoh, the Election Commission (EC), and Ali, as the four respondents.

On Oct 4, four assemblypersons led by Umno Sungai Udang representative Idris Haron, announced their decision to withdraw support for then Malacca chief minister Sulaiman.

The other three were Nor Azman Hassan (Umno-Pantai Kundor), Noor Effandi Ahmad (Bersatu-Telok Mas) and Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Independent-Pengkalan Batu).

Following the collapse of the state Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration, Ali made a decision to dissolve the state assembly, paving the way for state election on Nov 20.

According to a copy of the judicial review leave application made available to the media this afternoon, Adly seeks several declarations, among them that it was illegal and null and void for Ali, on or around Oct 4, to dissolve the Malacca 14th legislative assembly pursuant to Article 19(2) of the state constitution, due to Sulaiman having allegedly ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the 28 assemblypersons, prior to the advice.

The Bukit Katil assemblyperson seeks declarations that Sulaiman’s advice to Ali on or around Oct 4 to dissolve the Melaka state legislature, was null and void due to being done not only in mala fide (in bad faith), but also unreasonable and irrational due to the ongoing Covid-19 endemic.

Adly is seeking a declaration that the gazette on the dissolution was null and void due to Ali allegedly not knowing that Sulaiman ceased to command the majority confidence of assemblypersons when the advice was given.

He also seeks an order of certiorari to quash the EC’s order issued on Oct 18, for the holding of the Malacca state elections.

Through an affidavit in support of the judicial review, Adly contended that Sulaiman had already lost the support of majority assemblypersons between Oct 3 and 4, thus stripping the latter of any authority to advise Ali for the dissolution of the state legislature.

The applicant claimed that he was told by Bandar Hilir assemblyperson Tey Kok Kiew that during a meeting on Oct 3, Rauf had informed the DAP lawmaker (Tey) about the withdrawal of support by four assemblypersons for Sulaiman.

Adly claimed he was informed by Tey that Rauf had sought support from the DAP to prevent the collapse of the Melaka PN administration, in return for the possibility of understanding to be reached with DAP akin to the federal level understanding between the government and opposition.

Adly alleged that Rauf told Tey that if no understanding could be reached, then he (Rauf) would cause the dissolution of the Malacca state assembly and that in the end no agreement was reached with the DAP.

The applicant, who was Malacca chief minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration, contended that Sulaiman immediately ceased to command the majority confidence of assemblypersons around 1pm on Oct 4, following the announcement by Idris and the three assemblypersons that day about their retraction of support for Sulaiman.

Adly also contended that under the circumstances, Sulaiman should have then tendered his resignation as chief minister.

The applicant said that what happened instead was that on Oct 5, the state assembly speaker’s office issued a media statement saying that Sulaiman wrote a letter to Ali on Oct 4, informing that the four assemblypersons pulled back their support and also sought for Ali to dissolve the state assembly.

Adly thus claimed that there was no proper and valid process leading to Ali’s decision to dissolve the Melaka state legislature.

“I am advised by my solicitors and I verily believe that it is open under the law to the fourth respondent, the Malacca Yang di-Pertua Negeri, to require the first respondent (Sulaiman) to tender resignation as the chief minister, having lost the confidence of the majority of the assemblypersons.

“I also verily believe that it is also incumbent on the fourth respondent to take proper steps to make a judgment as to whether another assemblyperson is likely to command the confidence of the majority assemblypersons, in particular with a view to avoiding a general election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and/or endemic.

“Malacca has been affected by a harsh economic slowdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and/or endemic since early 2020.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and/or endemic has had serious negative implications on the health of the people and their economic well-being and on the capacity of the health facilities of the government.

“I also believe that holding a general election at this time poses a serious danger to the health of the people and consequently, their economic well-being and may be further harmful to the health facilities of the government,” Adly contended.

By : HIDIR REDUAN ABDUL RASHID – MALAYSIAKINI

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