Anwar Withdraws Bid For Leave Over Challenge On Royal Assent

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PUTRAJAYA, Apr 24 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today withdrew his application to seek leave to commence a constitutional challenge 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 presided the matter, subsequently struck out the application with liberty to file afresh. Lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, representing Anwar, applied for the application to be withdrawn with liberty to refile it again.

He said the application was withdrawn pending the outcome of Anwar’s appeal at the Federal Court relating to his lawsuit which challenged the implementation of the National Security Council Act 2016. Anwar, 70, is serving a five-year jail term at the Sungai Buloh Prison for sodomy.

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 power 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 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 Royal assent, as invalid. He named the Government as the sole respondent in the legal challenge. Senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh appeared for the government. — Bernama

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