Verdict on the judicial review application filed by over 10,000 Selangor voters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, March 29 — The High Court today fixed April 11 to deliver its verdict on the judicial review application filed by over 10,000 Selangor voters led by Bersih 2.0, objecting to the recent redelineation exercise in the state.

The voters filed a lawsuit through 107 representatives, to ask the court to compel the Election Commission (EC) to hear their objections and to cancel the redelineation report that was submitted to the prime minister.

The redelineation report was however tabled in Dewan Rakyat yesterday, and approved with a simple majority.

“The arguments were heard by both parties, including the argument on whether it is academic, and the court has adjourned the matter to April 11 for a decision,” the group’s lawyer Datuk S. Ambiga said.

“I think we have been asked to advise (our clients), as to whether they (EC) can continue with the election, when there is a pending court decision.

“So we are going to look into that,” she added.

Ambiga expressed hope that the EC would respect the court, and not do anything to override its powers, since the decision has now been fixed for April 11.

The matter today was presided by Judge Datuk Azimah Omar.

The lawsuit was filed last Tuesday at the Shah Alam High Court by former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, who is among the 107 voters, as well as Selangor lawmakers such as Hannah Yeoh, Xavier Jayakumar, Tony Pua, Lau Weng San, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Haniza Mohamed Talha and Gan Pei Nei.

The voters are from 11 parliamentary seats and 16 state seats in Selangor.

The judicial review application names the EC, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Aman Mulia as respondents.

The 107 voters are seeking four court orders, including a declaration that the EC’s failure to hold local enquiries for the 107 objections to its redelineation exercise was “unconstitutional”, and an order to compel the EC to hold local enquiries for the 107 group of voters.

They want the court to declare that the final redelineation report submitted by the EC to the prime minister on March 9 as unconstitutional.

Additionally, they want the courts to issue a stay order to freeze the tabling, debate, discussion or voting on the EC’s redelineation report in the Dewan Rakyat until the end of this lawsuit.

The parliament seats affected are — Selayang, Hulu Langat, Puchong, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Petaling Jaya Utara, Subang, Shah Alam, Kapar, Kota Raja and Sepang.

The state seats are — Kuang, Rawang, Taman Medan, Kota Damansara, Batu Tiga, Sementa, Seri Andalas, Sri Muda, Subang Jaya, Seri Setia, Bukit Gasing, Kampung Tunku, Damansara Utama, Tanjong Sepat, Dengkil and Sungai Pelek.

Bersih 2.0 said that the EC’s failure to include the 107 groups of voters in its second round of local enquiries held from February 26 to March 1 has denied over 10,000 voters their constitutional rights to be heard.

According to Bersih 2.0 acting chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari, the electoral watchdog had sent two official letters dated February 28 and March 9 to the EC, but did not receive any reply.

In the two letters sighted by Malay Mail, the EC was asked to provide the status of the objections and local enquiries for Selangor voters who did not receive any notification from the EC.

Bilqis appeal: There are real crimes for govt to go after, say activists

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A human rights NGO has questioned the government’s decision to appeal the acquittal of a woman who dropped balloons at an event attended by the prime minister and his wife in 2015.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Eric Paulsen also questioned the need to secure a conviction for a minor incident, adding that it was a “waste of resources”.

“Surely there are real crimes for the public prosecutor to go after?

“He must not forget that he acts as a guardian for public interest. What public interest is being served by continuously appealing such a petty matter?”

Read more

Malaysian, four Indian nationals to hang for drug trafficking

Source: Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, Jan 18 ― A local man and four Indian nationals were sent to the gallows by the High Court here today after being found guilty on two counts of trafficking 5.8kg of drugs at a house which doubled as a drug processing laboratory five years ago.

Judge Datuk Ghazali Cha handed down the sentence to A. Sargunan, 42, and four Indian nationals, namely Sumesh Sudhakaran, 30, Alex Aby Jacob Alexander, 37, Renjith Raveendran, 28, and Sajith Sadanandan, 29, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution’s case.

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Prosecution appeals again against ‘balloon girl’s’ acquittal

Source: Malay Mail Online

Photo of Bilqis

Bilqis (right) was previously acquitted on July 1, 2017 by the Magistrates’ Court without her defence being called. — Picture by Miera Zulyana via Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The prosecution has again appealed against the acquittal of dance producer Bilqis Hijjas of a charge of “insulting behaviour” for dropping yellow balloons at a 2015 event graced by the prime minister.

Latheefa Koya, a lawyer for Bilqis, today said: “Our client just informed that she has been served the notice of appeal.”

When contacted, Bilqis — also popularly known as the “balloon girl” — confirmed that she had received the notice of appeal.

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G25 granted leave to challenge book ban

Source: The Star Online

Pic drawn from The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has granted the G25 group of eminent Malays leave to challenge the ban of its book, titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Kamaludin Md Said made the order in chambers in the presence of the parties on Tuesday.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan did not raise objections.

Counsel Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who acted for G25, told reporters later that the court had allowed the leave for judicial review and fixed Jan 23 for case management.

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Sivarasa Rasiah’s application to challenge the constitutionality of Section 233 of the CMA to be heard by High Court

Source: Excerpt from Mkini

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has overturned a Sessions Court decision not to refer constitutional matters in a Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) case to the High Court.

Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak said the sessions judge had erred in disallowing the referral and set Jan 4 next year to hear the merits of the application.

If the application is allowed, the accused, Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, would be allowed to challenge the constitutionality of Section 233 of the CMA at the Federal Court, on grounds that it is too broad and contravenes Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression.

Judicial review application hearing to challenge A-G’s 1MDB report official secret classification

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― The High Court here today set Aug 1 to hear the application for a judicial review filed by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to challenge the decision to classify the Auditor-General’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as official secret.

Judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said set the date in chambers in the presence of lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing Muhammad Zahid and lawyer N. Ganeson representing Mohamed Azmin.

Also present were senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the respondents, namely Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the Malaysian Government.

Mohamed Azmin and Muhammad Zahid filed the application separately on Aug 15 and 5 last year.

In his application, Mohamed Azmin is seeking for a declaration that Najib had acted in conflict of interest, in issuing a certificate under Section 2B of the Official Secrets Act 1972, to Ambrin, directing him to classify his report on 1MDB as an “official secret”.

Azmin is also seeking for another declaration that the classification by Ambrin on the 1MDB report as “official secret” under the OSA was unlawful and “ultra vires” (beyond the power) of the Federal Constitution, the OSA and the Audit Act 1957.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Zahid, who is former spiritual leader of Pertubuhan Tolak Individu Bernama Anwar Ibrahim (TIBAI) filed the legal bid against the same respondents, seeking an order to make the 1MDB final report publicly accessible.

On Jan 11, the High Court granted both of them leave to proceed with their judicial review seeking to declassify the audit report on 1MDB. ― Bernama

Mais gets court’s nod to continue bid to stop SIS’s ‘deviant’ fatwa challenge

Source: The Malay Online

File picture showing lawyer Surendra Ananth (third from left) and members and supporters of Sisters in Islam. — Picture by Zurairi AR

PUTRAJAYA — The Federal Court today allowed the Selangor religious authorities to continue with its bid to end Sisters in Islam’s (SIS) legal challenge against a fatwa labelling the latter as “deviant”.

The Federal Court said the five questions of law submitted by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and two others sued by SIS need to be discussed in court.

“We allow the application on the five questions presented to us,” said Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, who chaired the three-man panel.

The two other judges are Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin.

The five questions of law include whether the Shariah court’s jurisdiction can be implied from or has to be expressly stated in state laws; and whether a fatwa issued under a Selangor state law is within the exclusive jurisdiction of Shariah courts. Read more