KUALA LUMPUR: Ten people and three companies challenging the constitutional status of a Bank Negara Malaysia freeze order in the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (Amla) failed to get leave to pursue their application.
High Court judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh dismissed their application on Oct 28 after meeting counsel of both parties in chambers.
In his judgment recently made available to the press, he held that Bank Negara was exercising its statutory function in issuing the order for the purpose of criminal prosecution.
He also held that the freeze order was not an administrative decision which could be reviewed within the ambit of a judicial review.
Among the applicants in the suit are businessman Khor Peng Chai, 57, who is a director and shareholder of licensed money lender CTW Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd, his wife Lee Moi Tiang, 52, and daughter Khor Yea Jye, 29.
CTW Marketing was one of the three companies that filed the application for a judicial review on Sept 6, naming Bank Negara and the Malay-sian Government as respondents.
The applicants claimed that Section 44 of Amla was unconstitutional as it allowed freeze orders to be issued without notice to the persons concerned, and sought a declaration that Section 44 of Amla was in violation of the provision of the Federal Constitution that all persons are equal before the law and was, accordingly, null and void.
They also claimed that Bank Negara had acted in excess of its powers conferred upon it by the same Act.
They applied to quash the decision of Bank Negara in issuing the freeze notices dated July 28, as well for costs and further relief deemed fit by the court.
Michael K.T. Chow appeared for the applicants, and senior federal counsel Noor Hisham Ismail and Nadia Hanim Mohd Tajuddin for Bank Negara.