Malaysian Bar’s appeal to refer constitutional questions to Federal Court dismissed

PUTRAJAYA – The Court of Appeal here today dismissed the appeal by the Malaysian Bar to refer constitutional questions concerning the validity of an emergency proclamation made in 2020 to the Federal Court.

A three-member panel comprising Justices Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azizul Azmi Adnan rejected the Bar’s appeal with no order as to costs.

Justice Azizul Azmi who delivered the unanimous decision of the panel said the Bar’s appeal emanated from the same single judgment of the High Court which had dealt with the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) application to refer the constitutional questions to the Apex Court.

“The Court of Appeal in Bersih’s case came to the finding that there was no appealable error by the High Court and dismissed the appeal in that case. 

“This court is bound by the previous case. Therefore, the appeal by Malaysian Bar is dismissed,” he said.

At today’s online proceeding, lawyer Gregory Das represented the Bar while senior federal counsel Liew Horng Bin represented the Malaysian Government and former Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

On May 18, 2022, High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid dismissed the Bar’s application to refer constitutional questions under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, to the Federal Court.

The Bar had posed 27 questions of law on the validity of Malaysia’s emergency proclamation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s Emergency Ordinance during Muhyiddin’s administration.

The emergency proclamation was effective from Jan 12, 2021, until Aug 1, 2021, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began globally in early 2020.

In their legal actions, the Bar named Muhyiddin and the Malaysian Government as respondents, and sought a declaration that the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 is unlawful and unconstitutional, and therefore null and void. – BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE