PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has ruled that the sessions court in Kuala Lumpur can try civil and criminal cases from any part of the peninsula.
Judge Nordin Hassan said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has not limited the jurisdiction of the lower court in the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur under the Subordinate Courts Act 1948.
“If no local limits of jurisdiction have been assigned, the sessions court may hear and determine any case from any part of Peninsular Malaysia,” he said in a 37-page judgment allowing the prosecution’s appeal in a Securities Commission Malaysia case.
The three-member bench also consisted of Kamaludin Said and Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim.
Nordin said the reasoning of a judicial commissioner in the present appeal, that the Kuala Lumpur sessions court was assigned its local limits of jurisdiction under a 1955 order by a British high commissioner, was flawed.
“The 1955 order only assigned the local limits of jurisdiction to the sessions court of the state of Selangor. Undoubtedly, this is because the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan were then not in existence,” he said.
The federal territory of Kuala Lumpur was established on Feb 1, 1974 by way of a constitutional amendment. It was previously part of Selangor.
On Sept 29, 2020, then judicial commissioner Aslam Zainuddin allowed a preliminary objection on appeal by former Multicode Electronics Industries (M) Berhad director Abul Hassan Mohamed Rashid, who had been found guilty of criminal breach of trust involving RM26 million.
He was sentenced to six years’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur sessions court although the alleged offence took place in Johor Bahru in 2007.
In allowing the objection, Aslam said the sessions court did not enjoy nationwide territorial jurisdiction, unlike the High Court.
He declared the sessions court proceedings null and void, which led the prosecution to file an appeal.
The Court of Appeal bench also ordered Hassan’s appeal against conviction and sentence to be heard before a new High Court judge.
Deputy public prosecutor Dusuki Mokhtar appeared for the prosecution, while lawyers Shafee Abdullah, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed and Nur Syahirah Hanapiah represented Hassan, who is out on bail.