KUALA LUMPUR ,Jan 27– Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has every right to file a suit against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for his decision to advise the king to declare an emergency.
Former Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan said there are various issues with the state of emergency, such as with its proclamation.
“There were no announcements on a joint committee – this is supposed to be a bipartisan committee to advise the king on emergency matters, as provided in the emergency ordinance,” Ragunath told The Vibes.
He added there are also no clarifications on the checks and balances on government decisions, as the government has not explained or come up with procedures to ensure that its powers are not abused.
“And, there are no clear restraints on government dishing out non-essential contracts without going through a transparent accountable process,” said Ragunath.
He also asked what other powers Putrajaya needs to govern and deal with the pandemic that the movement control order does not already have.
As to the possibility that Anwar’s judicial review could be struck out, Ragunath said: “I don’t think it should be struck out. It should be decided on based on its merits.”
Meanwhile, lawyer V. Satchiananthan said Muhyiddin’s capacity as prime minister could be challenged as well.
He said that according to the federal constitution, only a prime minister can advise the king to declare an emergency.
“I think once Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz withdrew support for Perikatan Nasional’s administration, Muhyiddin lost majority support.
“In that case, he should have resigned or requested that Parliament be dissolved. Instead, he advised the king to declare an emergency. What capacity does he have to do that?” Satchiananthan said when contacted by The Vibes.
Anwar filed a leave for a judicial review action at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday, seeking a court declaration that Muhyiddin gave unlawful advice to the Agong to suspend Parliament while the country is under emergency rule.
The Port Dickson MP will be represented by lawyer and Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh.
Meanwhile, lawyer K. Teeruvarasu said that Anwar’s choice to go with a judicial review action is because it is a mechanism to challenge the powers of the executive and government, which Muhyiddin is part of.
He added that based on his understanding, Anwar’s challenge is focused on Muhyiddin’s advice to the Agong to promulgate provisions suspending Parliament – particularly Section 14 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.
“It is possible they are arguing such advice goes against multiple constitutional provisions regarding Parliament.
“They are not challenging the emergency, which is why I think they went with the judicial review to challenge the government’s possibly unconstitutional decision,” said Teeruvarasu.
However, constitutional lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos pointed out that Anwar could face various hurdles with his legal suit.
Although Anwar’s suit is focused on the prime minister’s advice with regards to the emergency declaration, Jahaberdeen noted that it was the king who decided that the situation required an emergency.
“If he (Anwar) is challenging the prime minister’s advice to the Agong to declare an emergency, how is he going to challenge the fact that the Agong made up his own mind that an emergency is necessary?
“The prime minister has the right to give such advice under the federal constitution, and once the Agong decides to declare an emergency, it cannot be challenged.” – The Vibes