KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has granted leave for Bersatu to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) action that froze its bank accounts and saw a travel ban imposed on party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid granted the leave on Tuesday (May 30) after finding that the application to initiate judicial review was not frivolous and vexatious.
He also found that the applicants had passed the threshold to commence judicial review proceedings.
"There are triable issues regarding the impugned freezing order and impugned travel ban.
ALSO READ: Prosecution seeks joint trial for Muhyiddin
"These issues justify further argument by the parties at substantive stage and cannot be obliterated by the court at this stage.
"The application for leave is hereby allowed," he said.
The judge, however, disallowed interim orders or reliefs as sought by the applicants, Muhyiddin and Datuk Capt (R) Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya.
Both applicants had also sought interim court orders which include the right to withdraw RM1mil from the frozen accounts required by the party for its operations, management, salaries, costs, other expenses as well as political activities.
It also sought for the release of RM6mil from its accounts for the purpose of campaign activities in the six upcoming state elections.
According to the judge, the granting of such interim orders or reliefs would amount to interference in the power of the MACC in exercising its power to make a variation order.
"I am of the view that the court does not have the power to grant the interim orders or reliefs as sought by the applicants at this leave stage and early stage as the existence of injustice claimed by the applicants is not known and will only be determined at the substantive stage.
"Therefore, it is my considered opinion that the release of the monies, which is and could be connected with the money laundering offences, cannot be permitted.
"The release of the money, if permitted, will diminish the frozen assets in the bank account. As the purpose of the freezing order is to preserve the assets suspected of criminal activities, permitting such release of money will frustrate the purpose of the freezing order which is yet to be determined in the criminal trials," he added.
The court then fixed June 21 for case management in the lawsuit.
On March 8, Muhyiddin and Muhammad Suhaimi, who is the first applicant in his capacity as a public officer of Bersatu, filed the application for leave to initiate judicial review.
They named MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki, MACC investigation division senior director Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hashim, MACC anti-money laundering division director Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin, then Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud, 13 MACC officers, along with the MACC, the Immigration Department and the government as respondents.
Muhyiddin and Muhammad Suhaimi are seeking leave from the High Court to initiate judicial review against the order to freeze several bank accounts belonging to Bersatu as well as Muhyiddin's travel ban.
Subsequently, the applicants are seeking to unfreeze the said accounts so that a sum of RM4,354,635.80 could be used for the expenses, operations and management of Bersatu.
The applicants claim that the freezing order was wrongful, null and void as a result of the unconstitutionality, illegality, procedural impropriety, irrationality, mala fide, abuse of process and abuse of power by MACC and its officers.
On Muhyiddin's travel ban, the applicants sought for a declaration that the ban, without any reasonable basis, is illegal and a violation of Articles 5, 8, 9 and 10 of the Federal Constitution.