Malaysia’s lawmakers challenge Parliament and state assembly sittings during a state of emergency in court

Following the fallout from Bersatu and PKR resignations, PH currently has 92 seats. - NSTP file pic. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 11, 2021, Malay Mail. Three Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers have filed an appeal to challenge the High Court’s refusal to grant leave to them for a judicial review over the suspension of Parliament and state assembly sittings during the nationwide state of Emergency, Malay Mail reported.

When contacted by Malay Mail, lawyer Christopher Leong, who is also representing the three lawmakers, confirmed an appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya at around 4.45pm earlier today.

The applicants were Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub who is also Pulai MP, PKR chief whip Datuk Johari Abdul who is also Sungai Petani MP, and Perak Opposition Leader Abdul Aziz Bari who is also Tebing Tinggi assemblyman.

“Yes, the applicants have filed an appeal today against the decision of the High Court because it is a matter of utmost public interest and public importance,” he said briefly.

Leong said the appeal notice was filed by his firm, Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff.

Earlier, High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid in dismissing the leave application said in his ruling that there was no breach of Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution, and therefore there could be no judicial review to challenge the decision of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 150(1) and Article 150(2B) of the Constitution.

Article 150(8) states that the satisfaction of the Agong under Article 150(1) shall be “final and conclusive and shall not be challenged or called into question in any court on any ground”.

The judge added that the aforementioned provisions effectively prevent any challenge or application made against the Emergency proclamation and any ordinance enacted under the Emergency law.

In their suit, the three PH elected representatives wanted the court to hear what they alleged to be unconstitutional provisions in the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, gazetted back in January that they said allowed for the suspension of Parliament and state assemblies during the Emergency.

The High Court judge also did not see an ouster clause in Article 150(8), which has the effect of excluding the jurisdiction of the court, as unconstitutional.

Besides the application filed by the three Opposition representatives, Opposition Leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also filed a separate application to challenge the suspension of Parliament as well.

Anwar’s suit filed on January 25 is focused on cancelling what he alleges to be unlawful advice by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Cabinet to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to make the allegedly unconstitutional Section 14 provision in the Emergency Ordinance which suspended Parliament.

Anwar wants the courts to compel Muhyiddin and the government to advise the Agong to revoke Section 14.

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