Apex court dismisses Malaysian Bar’s leave to appeal bid to refer constitutional questions

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has dismissed the Malaysian Bar’s application to obtain leave to appeal against the dismissal of its application to refer to the Federal Court constitutional questions concerning the validity of an emergency proclamation made in 2020.

Today's decision was delivered online by a three-member bench comprising Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Justice Abang Iskandar, who delivered the decision, held the Bar did not fulfil the threshold requirement under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act and hence leave could not be granted to them.

On May 18, 2022, High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid dismissed the Bar’s application to refer constitutional questions under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, to the Federal Court.

The High Court also dismissed the application by Bersih 2.0 to refer constitutional questions concerning the validity of an emergency proclamation made in 2020 that ran until August last year, to the Federal Court.

The High Court judge said he would instead hear and decide on all legal questions posed in both applications himself.

The Court of Appeal, in November last year, dismissed the Bar’s appeal, while the appeal by Bersih 2.0 was dismissed in October 2022. Bersih 2.0 did not bring the matter to the Federal Court.

The Bar had posed 27 questions of law on the validity of Malaysia’s emergency proclamation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s Emergency Ordinance during former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration.

The emergency proclamation was effective from Jan 12, 2021, until Aug 1, 2021, to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which began globally in early 2020.

In their originating summons, the Bar named Muhyiddin and the Malaysian government as respondents, and sought a declaration that the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 is unlawful and unconstitutional, and therefore null and void.

Lawyer Abdul Rashid Ismail representing the Bar, when contacted by Bernama, said following today’s decision, the High Court will proceed to hear the Bar and Bersih’s originating summons filed in 2021.

He also said the High Court has fixed June 24 for case management. - Bernama

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