By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

The Federal Court ruled that the High Court did not commit any appealable error to warrant an intervention.

A coalition of NGOs led by Bersih, and two PKR leaders have again failed in their bid to refer questions of law in relation to an emergency proclamation to the Federal Court.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by justice Has Zanah Mehat said the High Court did not commit any appealable error to warrant an intervention.

However, Has Zanah ordered no costs as the issue raised was of public interest.

The others who sat on the bench were justices Che Ruzima Ghazali and Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim.

The bench had earlier also dismissed a preliminary objection by federal counsel Suzana Atan that any decision on constitutional reference applications before a High Court was not appealable.

It went on to hear the merit of the appeal before affirming the High Court ruling.

Suzana represented former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and the government, who were the respondents.

On May 18, High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Shahid dismissed the bid by the Malaysian Bar and Bersih to refer the constitutional questions over the validity of the emergency proclamation, which came to an end in August 2021.

Kamal ruled that such questions can be determined by the High Court.

“I am of the considered opinion that the subject matter of this application is not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Court,” he said.

“The jurisdiction to determine the constitutional questions lies within the High Court,” he added, in dismissing the application with no order on costs.

The other NGOs were Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Centre for Independent Journalism, Aliran, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Malaysian Academic Movement, and SAVE Rivers.

The two PKR leaders were former senator Yusmadi Yusoff and former Hang Tuah Jaya MP Shamsul Iskandar Akin, who were allowed to intervene in the application.

The Bar’s appeal is scheduled to be heard next year.

The Bar and the NGOs had posed 27 questions of law on the validity of the emergency proclamation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the country’s Emergency Ordinance, while Bersih had posed seven questions on the matter.

The emergency proclamation, which was in effect from Jan 12, 2021 to Aug 1, 2021, was meant to curb the spread of the pandemic, which began globally in early 2020.

Lawyer Edmund Bon, who represented the NGOs, said the merit of the case will be heard in the High Court.

Counsel A. Surendra Ananth appeared for Yusmadi and Shamsul.