PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has dismissed applications by a former MP and a Pandan voter to challenge the prime minister’s request to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament in October.
A three-member bench chaired by Justice Nallini Pathmanathan said the subject matter was academic as it has been overtaken by events.
“The 15th general election is completed with a new government installed and Parliament has convened,” she said in allowing a preliminary objection by the government, former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the Election Commission (EC).
The three respondents had earlier submitted that leave ought not to be granted as the subject matter was no longer a live issue and had become academic.
Nallini, who sat with Justices Vernon Ong and Mary Lim, also noted that former Klang MP Charles Santiago and lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar had asked the bench to issue prospective declarations in answer to legal questions they had posed.
Rejecting the request, Nalini said: “The court could not grant such declarations because the facts in this case could not be separated from the law.”
She said both applicants had questioned whether the unilateral request for the King to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat, which was made by Ismail without the advice of the Cabinet, violated provisions in the Federal Constitution.
The other question posed was whether the subject matter of the appeal was justiciable, i.e. whether it could be challenged in court.
Nallini also noted that lawyers for the applicants had submitted that the issue was of public importance as the same questions were likely to arise whenever Parliament is dissolved in the future.
However, she said both suits were untenable as the election process had been completed and the will of the people made known.
The respondents were represented by senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, Liew Horng Bin, Low Wen Zhen, and lawyers Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Hafarizam Harun.
Counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and A Surendra Ananth represented Santiago, while Gopal Sri Ram and R Kengadharan appeared for Syed Iskandar.
The dissolution of the lower house on Oct 10 resulted in the EC calling for elections and setting Nov 19 as the polling date.
On Nov 24, the King appointed Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. Anwar went on to form a unity government made up of MPs from Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional and regional parties from Sabah and Sarawak.
Both Santiago and Syed Iskandar had their suits struck off by the High Court on Oct 28 last year.
On Nov 15, a three-member Court of Appeal bench unanimously upheld both High Court rulings.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Azizah Nawawi said any order to restrain or prohibit the EC from conducting the polls within 60 days of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat was untenable in law.
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