TPPA: Federal Court Adjourns NGOs Leave Appeal Application

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PUTRAJAYA, Nov 18 – The federal Court here yesterday adjourned to Jan 17 next year for the leave to appeal hearing by three non-governmental organisations (NGOs) over the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by the government. 

A three-man bench led by Justice Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop fixed the date after lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing the NGOs, informed the court that they wanted to wait for developments on the agreement, whether it would come into force or otherwise.

Mohamed Haniff Khatri said that if the TPPA failed to materialise, the application by the NGOs would become academic and premature. The other judges on the panel were Justices Tan Sri Ramly Ali and Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim. The NGOs had appealed against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision on Jan 12 this year which refused to give them leave to initiate a judicial review in their bid to prevent the government from signing the TPPA. 

In the application, the three NGOs named Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Minister of International Trade and Industry and the Malaysian government as respondents. The High Court had dismissed the application by the three NGOs on the grounds that the government had yet to sign the agreement and therefore it was non-justifiable. 

The High Court made the ruling after allowing the respondents’ objection against the leave application. The government had signed the TPPA on Feb 4 this year. The NGOs had sought a declaration that the signing of the TPPA was unconstitutional and could undermine the sovereignty of the country.

Apart from Malaysia, countries involved in the TPPA negotiations were the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan represented the respondents. — Bernama

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