Comedy club owners challenge DBKL decision in court

KUALA LUMPUR: The owners of Crackhouse Comedy Club Mohamad Rizal Johan Van Geyzel and Shankar R Santhiram filed a legal action on Thursday (Jan 5) to challenge Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) action in revoking its business licence and banning them from starting any business in the city permanently.

Rizal and Shankar filed the judicial review at the High Court here on Nov 24 naming DBKL, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah, then Federal Territories deputy minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias, the then Federal Territories Ministry and the government as respondents.

Lawyer M. Pravin who represents the owners confirmed the application today when contacted, adding that online case management of the application before Judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh has been set for Jan 26.

The owners are seeking a declaration that the decision to revoke the club’s licence was against the law and a declaration that the decision made by Jalaluddin, as well as the ministry to ban them from registering any business in Kuala Lumpur permanently even under another name and company, unconstitutional.

They also requested a court order to cancel the decision on the grounds that they have a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution to conduct business with a valid licence in Kuala Lumpur.

In their supporting affidavit, they said on Aug 17 last year, Jalaluddin had issued a statement informing that the DBKL licensing committee had decided to cancel the comedy club’s licence effective July 30 the same year and the owners were blacklisted for life from registering a business in Kuala Lumpur, adding that this decision had severely affected them as entrepreneurs.

Rizal and Shankar also claimed that they never received any official notice or letter from DBKL on the matter.

Meanwhile, Sessions Court Judge Nor Hasniah Ab Razak fixed Jan 20 for the decision on the representation submitted by Rizal to drop the charges of creating and initiating the distribution of videos that touch on racial sensitivity on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok that were brought against him.

Judge Nor Hasniah set the date after Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Enteri Mawan informed the court on Thursday that the prosecution had yet to receive the decision on the representation which was filed on Dec 12.

According to the three charges, Rizal, 40 was accused of making and initiating the transmission of offensive communications with intent to offend others via the Facebook application using the profile name "Rizal van Geyzel", Instagram "rizalvangeyzel" and TikTok "rizalvangeyzel", between July 4 and 6, 2022.

The three postings were read at the Cyber and Multimedia Crime Investigation Division Office, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman Police Headquarters, 27th Floor, KPJ Tower here, at 1.17pm, on July 13.

The charges were framed under Section 233(1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, punishable under Section 233 (3) of the same act, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both, and shall be further fined RM1,000 for every day that the offence is repeated after conviction, if convicted. - Bernama

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