Thursday 20 Jun 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 4): The Malaysian Bar has initiated judicial review proceedings at the High Court here to challenge former attorney general Tan Sri Idrus Harun's decision on Sept 4, 2023 to apply for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in the case involving 47 charges against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Bar president Karen Cheah in a statement said having considered at length the facts and circumstances of Zahid's case, the Malaysian Bar has taken this legal recourse as part of its statutory duty to uphold the course of justice, uninfluenced by fear or favour.

“It cannot be disputed that Zahid's trial commenced more than four years ago on Nov 18, 2019, where a prima facie case was established — with 77 days of trial having been conducted and the 15th defence witness giving evidence, and the matter being in the midst of its defence stage on Sept 4 this year.

“Zahid's case holds national and public interest as it involves grave accusations of criminal breach of trust, bribery, and money laundering against an individual in power and authority at the time he was charged — seen in tandem and in the light of the circumstances of the stage of proceedings in the case, vis-à-vis the continuing power he holds at the executive level as at Sept 4, 2023,” she said.

It is the Malaysian Bar's considered view, Cheah said, that the AG's discretionary powers under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution (FC) is not absolute and should be restricted in its scope and limit, exercised in a justiciable manner as determined by the courts under its revisionary powers and inherent jurisdiction in accordance with the law.

Following the prosecution's withdrawal of the charges, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, who is the trial judge at the High Court, granted the DNAA to all 47 charges.

Sequerah, however, said the prosecution would have wasted taxpayers' money and the court's time if Zahid was not charged again in the future.

Cheah added in this review, the Malaysian Bar seeks:

  • a certiorari to quash the AG's decision of Sept 4, 2023 in applying for a DNAA in Zahid Hamidi's case;
  • a declaration that the AG's decision of Sept 4, 2023 is null and void and/or made in excess of the jurisdictions and/or powers under Article 145(3) of the FC and section 254(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code;
  • a declaration that the AG's decision of Sept 4, 2023 is null and void and/or unreasonable and tainted with irrationality;
  • a mandamus directing the AG to furnish the Malaysian Bar with all information, documentation, reasons, basi, and particulars relied upon in arriving at the decision on Sept 4,  2023 to apply for a DNAA of Zahid, including (but not limited to), the letters of representation issued by or on behalf of Zahid Hamidi;
  • a mandamus directing the AG to provide the Malaysian Bar at regular intervals with all information, documentation, reasons, basis, and particulars pertaining to the status of the ongoing and/or further investigations on Zahid which formed part of the reason for arriving at the decision of the AG to apply for a DNAA, including any decision of the AG to recharge, continue trial, or discontinue investigations against Zahid; and
  • access to all matters and/or documents filed in Court, including court recordings, orders, and judgments.

She added the unsealed copies of the judicial review application, requisite statement, and supporting affidavit, were served on the AG on Monday.

"The Malaysian Bar cannot emphasise enough the importance of a judicial review process — which is specifically designed to challenge decisions, actions, or omissions of public bodies in the event that checks and balances on the Executive and Legislative are required, and/or where the basic structure of our Federal Constitution, is called into question for proper interpretation — in the interest of our democracy," Cheah said

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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