Federal Court Rejects Anwar’s Bid To Attend Hearing Of His Constitutional Challenge



PUTRAJAYA, Apr 17 – The Federal Court today dismissed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s request to be present in court next week to follow the proceedings of his application to nullify a provision in the Federal Constitution which allows bills to become law after 30 days without the king’s assent.

Chief Justice Tun Raus Sharif, who chaired a three-man court panel, dismissed the PKR de facto leader’s ex parte application for issuance of an “order to produce” to enable him to attend the hearing of his leave application, which had been set for April 23, to commence the constitutional challenge.

“We dismiss the application. No necessity for him to be present. The application (by Anwar) is for leave before a single judge,” said Raus, who presided with Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Federal Court judge Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed.

Anwar, 70, is serving a five-year jail term at the Sungai Buloh Prison for sodomy. His counsel, Latheefa Koya, applied for her client to be present at the hearing, saying that Anwar had the right to know what was happening to his case, which involved public interest.

Raus said the matter which Anwar sought to attend was not a criminal matter and that his case would be heard by a single judge in chambers. On Jan 2, this year, Anwar filed a legal challenge in the Federal Court seeking leave under Article 4 (4) of the Federal Constitution to question the validity of several amendments made in 1983, 1984, and 1994 which removed the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s powers to give the final approval for bills passed by Parliament.

He must obtain leave from a single judge before the merits of his case could be heard by the Federal Court. Anwar claimed that Article 66(4A) of the Federal Constitution, which allows a parliamentary bill to automatically become law 30 days after it is presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regardless of whether he assents to it or not, was unconstitutional.

He alleged that the Parliament had no power to pass such amendments as they took away the mandatory requirement of the royal assent, which he said, formed the basic structure of the Federal Constitution. By that token, Anwar also sought the court to declare that the National Security Council (NSC) Act, which became law in June 2016 without a royal assent, was invalid. He named the government as the sole respondent in the legal challenge. — Bernama

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