Case filed over King’s refusal to declare emergency

By S. Harrish

A LAWYER has filed a suit over the King’s decision not to agree with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s request for an emergency.

Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar filed his suit at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur this morning, with the Malaysian government being listed as the sole defendant.

Malaysiakini reports that according to the case filings, Syed Iskandar seeks for the court to determine, among others, whether the Agong “has an unfettered discretion not to declare an emergency despite the advice of the prime minister of the federal cabinet to the contrary”.

The plaintiff also wants the court to determine this based on Articles 40 and 150 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 40 generally deals with the need of the Agong to act in accordance with the advice of the cabinet or of a minister acting under the general authority of the cabinet, among others.

“This is a public interest litigation brought to vindicate the rule of law and to uphold the Federal Constitution,” the plaintiff stated.

Article 150 deals with the power of the Agong to issue a proclamation of emergency where there is a situation where the security, economic life or public order in the federation, or any part thereof, is threatened, among others.

The plaintiff is also seeking for the court to determine the validity of an amendment to Article 150, which inserted clauses among others, that bars the court from hearing legal action in relation to the issue of a proclamation of emergency.

Among these amendments is the insertion of Article 150 (8), which, among others, states that no court shall have jurisdiction to entertain or determine any application, question or proceeding, in whatever form, on any ground, regarding the validity of the proclamation of emergency.

Syed Iskandar also alleged that the said amendment to Article 150 was unconstitutional and thus null and void.

“Such an amendment cuts across the power of judicial review, which is part of the basic structure of the Federal Constitution,” he claimed.

Syed Iskandar explained that the basic purpose of the legal action was for the court to determine that anyone who becomes the prime minister will not face problems when dealing with those who are supposed to be guardians of the Federal Constitution.