KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear on March 20 whether an emergency proclamation can be challenged despite an ouster clause in the Federal Constitution that prevents the judiciary from hearing a complaint related to a state of emergency.
On the same day, Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh will also hear an application by the government to strike out the suit filed in November 2020 by lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar.
Lawyer R Kengadharan said High Court deputy registrar Syeela Marlina Uttaman fixed the new date after consulting Wan Ahmad Farid during an online proceeding today.
Kengadharan said he had sought an adjournment after informing the court of lawyer Gopal Sri Ram’s death yesterday.
He said the government and 10 others who had been allowed to become interveners had no objection to the adjournment.
Sri Ram and other lawyers had been scheduled to make oral submissions on both matters today. All had filed written submissions last year.
Kengadharan later told FMT he would most likely step in to argue the case for Syed Iskandar.
On Oct 23, 2020, then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to issue a proclamation of emergency under Article 150 after the Cabinet agreed to it at a special meeting.
Two days later, after a special meeting among the Malay rulers, the King decreed that a proclamation of emergency in the entire, or part of the country, was not necessary.
This prompted Syed Iskandar to file an originating summons in the High Court here.
The government in 2021 filed an application to strike out the suit, stating it was “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious” and an abuse of the court process.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was among eight individuals and two rights groups who were allowed to become interveners as they had legitimate interest in the case.
The rest linked to Mahathir are his son Mukhriz (former Jerlun MP), Amiruddin Hamzah (former Kubang Pasu MP), Shahruddin Salleh (former Sri Gading MP) and then senator Marzuki Yahya.
The others are Centre for A Better Tomorrow, the Association of Muslim Lawyers, and lawyers Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, Malcolm Fernandez and Nazirah Abdul Ghani.
Senior federal counsel Liew Horng Bin appeared for the government while Annemarie Parvina Vendargon represented the Bar Council, which has come in as an amicus curiae (friend of the court ).