By Nurbaiti Hamdan | The Star

Seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the latest to file a lawsuit against the Prime Minister and the government to seek court declarations on issues over the recent emergency proclamation.

The group – Bersih 2.0, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Center for Independent Journalism, Aliran, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia, and Save Rivers – filed their suit through law firm AmerBON Advocates at the High Court here on Tuesday (Feb 2).

In a joint statement, the group said it was concerned that the proclamation of Emergency has resulted in Parliament being unable to fulfil its constitutional role of debating and voting on the Emergency Ordinance.

“We are also concerned that the main effect of the Emergency Ordinance is the suspension of Parliament while it is business as usual for the government, judiciary and private sectors, subject to the restrictions imposed under the ongoing movement control order.

“We would like the courts to declare if they have the power to review any attempt that circumvents constitutional provisions which require these instruments to be brought before Parliament first,” it said.

The group said it was seeking declarations on whether the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021; or Section 14 of the Ordinance, which suspends Parliament; and Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution, which ousts the jurisdiction of the courts, are unconstitutional.

“We believe the government already has enough powers to handle the Covid-19 crisis and it does not need to resort to suspending Parliament through the Emergency Ordinance,” it added.

On Jan 25, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim filed for leave to initiate judicial review in his bid to challenge the government’s decision in advising the King to declare an Emergency proclamation.

In the court document, Anwar, 74, seeks a declaration that a Cabinet decision chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that advised the King to declare Emergency and caused the suspension of Parliament was unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective.

The Port Dickson MP is seeking a certiorari order to nullify the decision by the respondents to give the said advice to the King.

Anwar is also seeking a mandamus order to compel the respondents to advise the King to negate the Emergency.

Prior to that, former Batu Kawan Umno division chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan had filed a similar suit on Jan 18 to challenge the advice given by Muhyiddin to the King over the Emergency proclamation.