Uthayakumar’s appeal to set up RCI over prison reforms dismissed

uthayakumarPUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by lawyer P Uthayakumar over his bid for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up to look into prison reforms in Malaysia.

Uthayakumar was seeking for the Court of Appeal to reverse the High Court decision on Feb 17 this year which dismissed his application.

A three-man panel led by Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that Uthayakumar’s appeal was incompetent because his application was not properly brought before the High Court.

She allowed the preliminary objection raised by deputy public prosecutor Awang Amardajaya Awang Mahmud, who submitted that Uthayakumar had used the wrong mode of proceedings to file his application.

Justice Tengku Maimun, who presided with Justices Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Ahmadi Asnawi, held that the prosecution’s preliminary objection had merit.

In his application, Uthayakumar had sought for Prime Minister Najib Razak, with the Attorney-General’s advice, to propose to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to establish the commission.

He named Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Prisons Director-General Zulkifli Omar, Kajang Prison Director Abdul Wahab Abdul Kassim, the Attorney-General and the Malaysian Government as respondents.

In the application, Uthayakumar said, among others, that prisoners in all prisons nationwide should be given healthcare and medical treatment by specialists.

Uthayakumar was sentenced to 30 months’ jail for sedition by a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur in 2013. He was, however, released from prison in October 2014 after the Court of Appeal reduced his jail term to 24 months.

At appeal proceeding, Awang Amardajaya submitted the matter was not a criminal matter and that Uthayakumar should have filed the application at the Civil High Court and not at the Criminal High Court.

Uthayakumar contended that his application was correctly filed in accordance with the law as he said the matter arose from his criminal conviction.

Met outside the court later, Uthayakumar said he would appeal against the decision at the Federal Court.