Ex-AG Apandi seeks court’s help to get passport for travel overseas

Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali claims the immigration director-general and home minister are acting beyond their powers. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has filed a judicial review against the government for its refusal to allow him to apply for a passport and preventing him from leaving the country.

Apandi, in his application filed in the High Court of Kuala Lumpur through legal firm Messrs Saibullah MV Nathan on Thursday, said he was informed verbally on Feb 22 on the restriction imposed on him.

The former government chief legal adviser, who was sacked from office after the Pakatan Harapan government was voted into power, said he needed his passport to be in the United Kingdom in July as his stepson would be called to the English Bar.

He said he is not applying for the travel document to run away from the country.

Apandi, who is also a former Federal Court judge, wants a declaration that the restriction imposed against him was in breach of his fundamental rights under Articles 5 (1), 8 and 9 of the Federal Constitution.

In also naming the immigration director-general and the home minister as respondents, Apandi also wants a declaration that they are acting beyond their powers.

He said the respondents did not have unfettered discretion in imposing the questionable restriction.

Apandi said Section 59 of the Immigration Act denied him the right to be heard before the authorities made a decision, while Section 59A of the same legislation is an ouster clause that attempted to prevent him from making an application for judicial review to challenge the department’s decision.

He said both provisions in the law denied him the right to natural justice and were in breach of Articles 160 and 4 of the Federal Constitution.

Apandi, 69, who is back to practising law, said he wants the court to declare Sections 59 and 59A as being against the constitution.

He wants the court to rule that he be allowed to apply for a passport and that he be free to leave and enter the country without any restrictions.

He also wants an order to stop the three respondents from blacklisting him and, alternatively, wants them to give valid reasons why he could not travel overseas.

Apandi said he was never prosecuted for any criminal offence and was not facing any civil suits.

He said the director-general is responsible for all immigration matters and the conduct of his officers.

He said the minister is responsible for the department and the government could be held vicariously liable for their actions.

Apandi, who has affirmed an affidavit in support of the judicial review, said he went to the Immigration Department on Jalan Dutamas in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 22 to apply for a passport as he wanted to travel to the United Kingdom.

He said an officer verbally informed him that he could not apply for the travel document for the time being.

“I told the officer that no reason or letter was received to state any restriction imposed on me,” he said in the affidavit sighted by FMT.

Apandi said he had instructed his lawyers to send a letter to the department on March 5 and March 8 this year to seek clarification.

“The legal firm also made several telephone inquiries but there was no response,” he said.

Apandi must first get leave from the court before his complaint can be heard.