Lawyer: RCI correct to dismiss application to disqualify members

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Aug 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was correct when it dismissed the application to disqualify two of its members, said a senior government lawyer at the High Court here.

Senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh said the decision by the RCI was made on grounds that it did not have the jurisdiction or the powers to terminate the appointment of Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon.

He said their appointment could only be terminated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the Cabinet.

"This is based on the principle that only the appointing authority has the power to terminate the appointment," said SFC Amarjeet, when objecting to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's application for leave for a judicial review.

The submissions were heard before High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Datin Azizah Nawawi in chambers Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir's counsel Mohammed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the respondents argued that Dr Mahathir's team did not have the right to proceed with the leave for judicial review.

He said their argument was that the application did not comply with the certiorari order or ask the Government to give advice to the Agong to cancel Mohd Sidek and Saw's appointment.

"If leave is granted, we also applied for a stay of the proceedings of the RCI scheduled on Aug 21. The court has fixed Thursday for the decision," he added.

In the judicial review filed on Aug 9, Dr Mahathir is seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision by the RCI which dismissed the applicant's application to disqualify Mohd Sidek and Saw from becoming members of the panel in the RCI proceeding.

He has named RCI panel members Mohd Sidek, Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Saw and Pushpanathan S. A. Kanagarayar, RCI secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail and the Government as the respondents.

The former prime minister is also seeking a mandamus order to compel the Government to immediately advise the Agong under Article 40(1) and Article 40(1A) of the Federal Constitution to quash the appointment of the two RCI members.

He said that the RCI had breached the natural justice on grounds that the first and fourth respondents were also members of a task force responsible for the investigation that forwarded a recommendation to advise Cabinet to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate forex losses by Bank Negara Malaysia in the 1990s.

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