Court rejects NGOs’ judicial review bid against TPPA

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 26 Jul 2016

PUTRAJAYA: Three NGOs’ bid to challenge the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was dismissed by the Court of Appeal here.

The panel, led by Justice Rohana Yusof, which included Justices Vernon Ong and Abdul Rahman Sebli ruled the Agreement could not be questioned by the court as it was a decision by the executive branch based on technical reasoning.

Justice Abdul Rahman, who read the judgement, added that the TPPA would not contravene the constitution, negating the exception where a Government decision could be questioned by the court if it ran afoul of the constitution.

The panel made no order as to cost.

Three groups - Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim), Urusetia Menangani Gejala Sosial (Unggas) and Persatuan Teras Pendidikan dan Kebajikan Malaysia (Teras) - had appealed for leave for judicial review, in order to stop the Agreement.

Their lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said his clients would continue fighting the case, and appeal the matter to the Federal Court.

The application filed on November 4 last year, named Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the Malaysian government as respondents.

The groups sought a declaration from the court that signing the TPPA would be a breach of the Federal Constitution.

On Jan 12, the Kuala Lumpur High Court did not grant the groups leave for judicial review, on grounds that the trade agreement had yet to be signed.

Twelve countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, Vietnam and Malaysia, concluded the TPP negotiations in Atlanta on October 5 last year.

The pact was debated and approved by Parliament on Jan 26 and 27, and was later signed on Feb 4.

The TPP is a free trade agreement that has been negotiated by the US, Malaysia and nine other nations as part of the larger Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership since 2010.

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