KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court judge today recused herself from hearing the application for leave by cartoonist Zunar to challenge the Immigration Department that has banned him from going abroad.
Judge Hanipah Farikullah decided this in chambers after allowing an application by Zunar’s counsel Latheefa Koya to recuse her.
Latheefa told reporters that she filed an application to recuse the judge on the grounds that she had previously rejected the applications of activist Hishamuddin Md Rais and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua Kiam Wee involving the same issue.
Senior federal counsel Mohamad Rizal Fadzil, representing the immigration director-general, home minister and Malaysian government as respondents, said the application would be heard before a new judge.
On Dec 7, 2016, Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque, 55, sought a certiorari order to quash the travel restriction by the respondents which was conveyed to him orally on Oct 17, 2016.
He is seeking a declaration that the travel restriction imposed on him had violated the Constitution and therefore is void, illegal and unconstitutional.
In addition, he is seeking an order from the court to direct the respondents to allow him to travel overseas without any restrictions.
Zunar claimed immigration officials stopped him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Oct 17, 2016 from boarding a flight to Singapore where he was to attend a forum at a university.