Court to decide on Anwar’s bid to initiate judicial review first before hearing his referral questions

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 17): The High Court has decided to deal with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's (pictured) request for leave to initiate a judicial review related to the emergency proclamation first, before hearing the opposition leader’s application to refer four questions to the Federal Court.

Justice Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya made this decision, after hearing submissions on the referral questions via Zoom today.

“Justice Mariana's decision was to postpone the hearing of the said application to another date, pending the hearing of the application for leave which has been fixed for March 4,” said Anwar's counsel Ramkarpal Singh.

Anwar filed for leave to initiate the judicial review application on Jan 26.  

Ramkarpal had clarified at the time that the opposition leader was not challenging 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 an earlier advice given by the cabinet to the King to declare an emergency in October — which was refused by the monarch — was nothing more than a ruse to save Muhyiddin'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.

Anwar went on to pose four questions of law to be referred to the apex court. They are:

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.

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