By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets

The High Court today allowed five lawmakers to intervene in the legal challenge by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and six other NGOs to seek the court’s declaration on the roles of Parliament and the judiciary during Malaysia’s state of emergency that is expected to last until Aug 1.

Of the lawmakers, PKR’s Senator Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff and Hang Tuah Jaya MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin are intervening as supporters of the NGOs’ legal action.

Meanwhile, the PAS lawmakers, comprising Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari as well as Senators Khairil Nizam Khirudin and Mohd Apandi Mohamad, are opposing the legal action.

Mohd Yusmadi told that Justice Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid allowed both the PKR and PAS lawmakers’ applications to intervene in the legal action.

When contacted, the PKR lawmakers’ lawyer Surendra Ananth and Bersih’s lawyer Edmund Bon also confirmed the court’s decision.

Mohd Yusmadi and Shamsul Iskandar filed their applications on March 19, while the PAS representatives filed theirs on March 16.

Besides Bersih, the other NGOs seeking the court’s declaration on the roles of Parliament and the judiciary during the emergency period are Suara Rakyat Malaysia, the Centre for Independent Journalism, Aliran, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, the Malaysian Academic Movement and SAVE Rivers.

In January, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a nationwide state of emergency in Malaysia to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Bersih and six others had on Feb 2 posed four questions of law to be decided in the originating summons they filed, namely:

  • Given that both houses of Parliament had not been dissolved but only stood adjourned at the relevant times, whether the proclamation of emergency issued on Jan 11 and promulgated on Jan 14 had to be laid before both houses pursuant to Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution?
  • Whether Section 14 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 relating to the suspension of Parliament is valid insofar as it prevents or frustrates the operation of Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution?
    (Section 14 purports to, inter alia, disable the operation of the provisions of the Federal Constitution relating to the summoning, prorogation and dissolution of Parliament and to cancel any meeting of Parliament that had been summoned but not yet held.)
  •  Whether the 1981 constitutional amendment that added Article 150(8) that purportedly ousts the jurisdiction of the courts is unconstitutional (for violating Articles 4 and 121 and/or the basic structure of the Federal Constitution)?
  • Whether Article 150(8), even if valid, prevents the courts from reviewing the constitutionality of an ordinance made under Article 150(2B) that does not comply with, prevents or frustrates the requirements of Article 150(3) (which require the proclamation/ordinance to be laid before Parliament)?