High Court dismisses Dr Mahathir's RCI judicial review application

Dr Mahathir arrives at the Prime Minister's Department building where the RCI is being held. - Photo: Sinar Harian

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's application to initiate judicial review proceedings for the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

Among others, the former Prime Minister has asked for the RCI proceedings to be open to the public.

Judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh also dismissed the same application submitted by Dr Mahathir for an order to prohibit Tun Md Raus Sharif from acting as RCI chairman and to prevent Datuk Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu and Datuk Mohammed Ridha Abd Kadir from being its members, according to Berita Harian.

"The court also denied the applicant's (Dr. Mahathir's) request to postpone the RCI proceedings until the final resolution of the judicial review application," said the judge.

Dr. Mahathir filed the application on June 5, naming Md Raus and his deputy, Tan Sri Zainun Ali, as the first and second respondents.

The third to eighth respondents are RCI members Baljit Singh, Datuk Dr. Johan Shamsuddin Sabaruddin, Prof. Datin Dr. Faridah Jalil, Mohammed Ridha, Dickson Dollah, and RCI Secretary Zamri Misman.

However, Judge Amarjeet allowed Dr. Mahathir's application for leave to initiate a judicial review on whether he could be represented by a lawyer in the ongoing RCI proceedings.

The court then set June 26 for case management.

In his supporting affidavit, Dr. Mahathir stated that the RCI's decision not to hold public proceedings was unreasonable.

He also sought an order to prohibit Md Raus from acting as the RCI chairman and to prevent Dr. Baljit and Mohammed Ridha from being RCI members.

Dr. Mahathir argued that Md Raus's appointment as RCI chairman posed a real danger of bias due to disagreements between Md Raus and him regarding the matter, which would affect Md Raus's impartiality in making decisions for the inquiry.

The former prime minister also sought a declaration that he is an individual involved or related to the matters being investigated by the RCI under Section 18 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950 (Act 119).

Speaking to the media after the proceedings, Dr. Mahathir’s lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali said he had written to the RCI about the High Court’s decision today, and the RCI has allowed his client to attend its proceedings at 11 am.

Initially, Dr. Mahathir was scheduled to testify before the RCI panel at 9.30am on Wednesday.

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