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Assembly Bill: Court backs away from test of whether Constitution comes first

Thu 2011-Dec-15 @ +08 15:00:41 pm

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court has backed away from a chance to uphold the Constitution’s supremacy over Parliament in refusing to allow an application filed by the PAS deputy president and two MPs of the party.

In yet another decision in a long trail of similar decisions over decades, the court upheld the Malaysian parliament’s supremacy (and by extension, supremacy of the ruling government) over the Constitution by saying it could not interfere with Parliament’s right to make law.

The Constitution grants Parliament the power to make laws, the judiciary to pass judgements on the law, and the King and Cabinet to carry out actions under the law.

The court refused to allow leave for a judicial review of the Peaceful Assembly Bill, now before the Senate, dismissing the application as “an abuse of the court process” and also, unusually, awarding costs for what is a preliminary filing.

PAS filed the application to challenge the Bill on the ground that it is unconstitutional, by offending against the people’s constitutional right to free assembly.

Lawyers for the PAS trio said they would appeal, and anticipated a long series of battles ahead.

The High Court judge, Justice Rohana Yusof, said that as the Bill was still being debated by Parliament, the court could not breach the constitutional separation of power. A challenge could still be mounted after it had become law, she said.

Malaysia’s judiciary has rarely interfered with Parliament’s powers in many cases over the past decades with judges such as a Chief Justice, Raja Azlan Shah, overruling arguments that it was merely English convention and the lack of a written Constitution that allowed parliament to be supreme. The argument that Malaysia should instead follow the example of India and other countries with a Constitution as the supreme law, from which parliament derives its own power to make laws, as well as the judiciary’s power to hold the law to the test of the Constitution, has never found favour in the Malaysian judiciary.

A nascent move to assert judicial independence and the power of judicial review through the Supreme Court was thwarted with the sacking of the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas, among other measures.

Justice Rohana awarded RM8,000 in costs to the government.

The suit was filed by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu (above, left, treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli, MP for Kuala Krai, and central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad (centre), the MP for Kuala Selangor.

After the decision, Hatta said: “Our hope was that the court which has the power, would protect the constitution but it seems that the court has abandoned that role.” Mat Sabu disputed the judge’s contention that the MPs had ample opportunity to debate the Bill. ““They never even had a chance to do so (in the Dewan Rakyat),” he said.
» Full report in MalaysiaKini

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4 Comments
  1. Thu 2011-Dec-15 @ +08 15:12:45 pm 15:12

    What ekes do you expect from the lackeys of the deceitful and corrupted Umno morons ?

    • Thu 2011-Dec-15 @ +08 22:26:29 pm 22:26

      And is Judicial Cmsr Varughese also a lackey of the whats it?

  2. Lok1 permalink
    Fri 2011-Dec-16 @ +08 05:49:43 am 05:49

    Please someone take note of that stupid Judge Rohana something,will sort her out when we take Putrajaya,am quietly keeping all those idiots name for later on.Please help me compile them so we can parade them and show them to our citizens how greedy they really are,greed for position n power n not forgetting riches,they too will have a very2 hard time to explain to Allah SWT on judgement day,Allah won’t accept nak cari makan,no way Jose.

    • Fri 2011-Dec-16 @ +08 11:35:11 am 11:35

      The judge has her reasons for her decision. Perhaps we don’t agree with it, but there is a legal basis for that. What PAS, and others in the past, want to do is to extend the scope of the law.

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