High Court asks Anwar's lawyers to submit whether state of emergency referral questions will be heard first

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): The High Court has instructed lawyers representing opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to submit whether they want the referral questions he posed to the Federal Court regarding the state of emergency to be heard first, ahead of his application for leave.

Anwar's counsel Ramkarpal Singh (pictured) told reporters this following case management of the matter before Justice Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya.

"The court has requested parties to submit on the question whether our application to refer questions to the Federal Court ought to be heard first before the application for leave.

"Following this, the court has fixed Feb 17 at 2.30pm for hearing using the Zoom application," he said.

It was reported on Feb 8 that four questions of law were posed before the apex court in addition to the Port Dickson member of Parliament filing a judicial review application last month to challenge emergency.

The questions were as follows:
1. Whether the decision to give the advice and/or the advice given by cabinet led by the prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to suspend Parliament is subjected to the ouster clauses in Article 150 of the Federal Constitution;
2. Whether the decision to give the advice and/or the advice given by cabinet led by the prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to suspend Parliament is reviewable by the courts;
3. Whether section 39(2) of the Malaysia Act, 1963 (Act 26/1963), section 15(d) of the Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1981 (Act A514), Article 150 (6) and (8) of the Federal Constitution are inconsistent and/or in contravention to Articles 4, 5, 8 and 121(1) of the Federal Constitution;
4. Whether the inherent jurisdiction of the courts, including the powers of review in relation to procedure, can be completely inhibited/ousted, by the Legislature.

On Jan 26, Anwar initiated the filing of a judicial review application to seek leave in declaring that the advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to suspend Parliament sitting during the emergency period was unconstitutional and against the law.

Ramkarpal had said Anwar's application was not a challenge to the emergency proclamation but the decision by the prime minister, through his cabinet, to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to approve Section 14 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 that suspends Parliament sitting for the duration of the emergency.

Anwar added that the advice given by the cabinet to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency for the first time in October — which was refused by the monarch — was nothing more than a ruse to save Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's post as prime minister and indicated that there already were sufficient measures then and now under the existing law to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

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