Apex Court sets May 17 to hear govt, AG's appeal to strike out lawsuits by Lawyers for Liberty

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has set May 17 to hear the appeals by the Malaysian government and the Attorney-General (AG) to strike out two suits brought by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) against the Malaysian and Singapore governments.

Senior Federal Counsel Liew Horng Bin, who is appearing for the AG and the government, confirmed the hearing date when contacted by Bernama on Friday (April 12).

On May 16, last year, the Federal Court granted leave (permission) to the government of Malaysia and the AG to proceed with their appeals.

They want the Federal Court to determine seven questions of law.

In 2020, LFL filed two suits after Singapore, under its Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), directed the rights group to insert a correction notice relating to its press statement that was published on its website alleging brutal and unlawful methods were used to execute prisoners in Singapore’s Changi prison.

LFL filed the first suit against the government of Malaysia, seeking a declaration, among others, that LFL cannot be subjected to any process within Malaysia in furtherance of Singapore law.

LFL’s second suit was filed against the Home Affairs Minister of Singapore, seeking a declaration that the correction direction cannot be enforced against the rights group in Singapore. On Dec 23, 2020, the High Court granted leave to the AG to intervene in the second suit.

The Malaysian government and AG then applied to strike out both suits on grounds that by a certificate issued by the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong dated April 16, 2020, Malaysia recognises Singapore as a foreign sovereign and therefore Singapore enjoys immunity in respect of the correction direction and the Singapore minister’s decision.

On June 10, 2021, the High Court allowed the Malaysian government and AG’s applications to strike out the suits.

On July 20, the following year, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision after allowing LFL’s appeal and ordered for the suits to be remitted back to the High Court for full trial before another High Court judge. - Bernama

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