Zunar wants travel ban plea to be decided by Federal Court


KUALA LUMPUR: Cartoonist-activist Zunar wants his application against the travel ban imposed by the Immigration Department to be decided by the Federal Court, his lawyer Gopal Sri Ram said.

He said a 1979 Federal Court ruling in the case of PP -vs- Loh Wai Kong was invalid as the apex court lacked jurisdiction to make a decision on an observation made by a High Court.

Sri Ram said under Articles 121 and 128 of the Federal Constitution, the apex court only had the authority to hear appeals from the lower court.

Telling reporters the crux of the submission made before Justice Azizah Nawawi, Sri Ram said, “Also under section 67 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, the Federal Court can only deal with appeals for or against an aggrieved party.”

In Loh’s case the then High Court judge Gun Chit Tuan dismissed Loh’s application that the government was liable for a delay in issuing him his travel document.

However, the government appealed against the observation made by Gun that the right to travel was a fundamental right under Article 5.

The Federal Court, however, ruled otherwise. It remains the current legal precedent.

Government lawyer Shamsul Bolhassan said Zunar’s judicial review application could be heard and decided by Azizah.

“Zunar can appeal up to the Federal Court if he fails in his application in the High Court,” he said.

He said the Federal Court recently had declared that the decision in the case involving Loh – that the government’s imposition of a travel ban on its citizens did not violate one’s personal liberty – was still a good law.

Azizah will rule on Nov 28 whether to refer Zunar’s case to the Federal Court.

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwar Haque, filed the application last year, seeking to quash the ban.

He also sought several declarations, including that the ban violated his constitutional rights.

Zunar was barred from going to a forum in Singapore on Oct 17 last year.

He also faces nine sedition charges for allegedly insulting the judiciary over PKR de facto head Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘Sodomy 2’ conviction.