Appeals Court reserves decision in Anwar’s judicial review bid challenging ex-PM’s advice to King over Emergency proclamation

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in an appeal by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is seeking leave for a judicial review to challenge former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's advice to the King over the Emergency declaration.

Justice Has Zanah Mehat, who chaired a three-man panel, said the court would fix a later date to deliver its decision to coincide with two other similar appeals.

The other appeals are from Simpang Jeram assemblyman and Pulai MP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Gurun assemblyman and Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul, Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari, and a separate appeal by Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim.

"The submissions are very substantive and similar issues are also raised in the two other appeals.

"I think we need to give the decision (in this case) together with the two appeals," she said in an online proceeding conducted via Zoom here on Tuesday (Sept 28).

The two other cases were initially fixed for decision on Sept 30 but the date would be pushed to give time for deliberation on Anwar's appeal.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim.

Earlier the court heard submissions from Anwar's lawyers Ramkarpal Singh and Sangeet Kaur Deo.

Ramkarpal said that the previous Perikatan Nasional-led government could have relied on the movement control order and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988 to combat the Covid-19 pandemic instead of advising the King to declare Emergency.

Meanwhile, Senior Federal Counsel S. Narkunavathy, who acted for the respondents, said through the amendment of Article 150 (6) and (8) of the Federal Constitution dated April 9, 1981, it was clear that the intention of the Parliament was to exclude judicial review from the decision in proclaiming Emergency and the Ordinance made under the emergency law.

"Based on Hansard, the intentions of the legislations were clear. The insertion of Article 150 (6) and (8) was meant to shut the doors of the court from any challenge of the law made during the Emergency and the proclamation of emergency by Yang di-Pertuan Agong," she said.

Anwar is appealing against a High Court's decision on April 22 that dismissed his leave application to commence a judicial review to challenge Muhyiddin's advice to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah over the Emergency proclamation which saw the suspension of Parliament sittings.

High Court judge Justice Mariana Yahya (now a Court of Appeal judge) had dismissed Anwar's application on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the judicial review based on Articles 150 (6) and 150 (8) of the Federal Constitution.

She ruled that the advice of the Cabinet and Muhyiddin to the King to promulgate the Emergency Ordinance was not amenable to judicial review.

On Jan 25, Anwar filed the application for leave and named Muhyiddin and the government as respondents in his application.

Anwar sought, among others, a court declaration that the decision by the Cabinet, led by Muhyiddin, to advise the King to promulgate Section 14 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, which had resulted in the suspension of Parliament, is unconstitutional, unlawful, has no effect and is ultra vires.

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