Malaysia’s High Court on Monday ruled that the government had unlawfully ousted the opposition chief minister of the northern state of Perak in a controversial takeover earlier this year. The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Mohammad Nisar Jamaluddin from the opposition People’s Alliance was Perak’s rightful chief minister.
In February, prime minister Najib Razak led the ruling National Front in a power grab for Perak, which fell to the opposition during last year’s March general elections.
Najib had orchestrated the takeover through lawmaker defections, prompting criticisms from rights groups and opposition parties claiming the move was unconstitutional.
The Front also elected a new chief minister, Zambry Abdul Kadir, as well as new state executive council members to replace the opposition government. However, the state has been in a political crisis ever since, with both parties claiming to be the lawful government.
On Monday, the High Court ruled that a chief minister can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence in state parliament, and ordered Zambry to immediately vacate his office.
Mohamad Nisar was quoted by the Star online news portal by saying he would now seek an audience with Perak’s royal ruler, Sultan Azlan Shah, to get his consent in calling for fresh state elections.
Perak was one of five states won by the opposition, led by Anwar Ibrahim, during the general elections.