Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Unlawful dismissal': Top court asked to review own decision

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has filed a judicial review today to challenge Monday's apex court decision which rejected his appeal for unlawful dismissal as deputy prime minister and finance minister 11 years ago.

In asking the Federal Court to review its own decision, Anwar's lawyers are filing the application based on Rule 137 (Rules of the Federal Court). The rule states:

"Nothing in these rules shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the (Federal) Court to hear any application or to make any order as may be necessary to prevent injustice or to prevent an abuse of the process of the Court."

sankara nair bukit aman teresea kok isa arrest pc 170908 01Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair (right) confirmed that the application was filed at 3pm today.

"Anwar has suffered a great deal of injustice over the years. The court could provide a remedy under Rule 137 of the Federal Court rules. The doors of injustice should never be closed," said Sankara.

On Monday, the country's second most senior judicial officer, Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, ruled that Anwar's expulsion on Sept 2, 1998, was lawful as the prime minister had absolute power to appoint or revoke the appointment of his ministers.

Anwar and his counsel Karpal Singh had criticised Alauddin's verdict as the PKR de facto leader claimed that the Agong had not been advised and assented to then PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad's request.

NONEThe opposition leader claimed that it was only after several days that the then Agong (the late Tuanku Jaafar Tuanku Abdul Rahman) was forced to approve the request.

Karpal said the background of the decision showed Mahathir was a dictator.

In a related development, Sankara also confirmed that they had also filed a petition of appeal at the Court of Appeal registry over Anwar's appeal to recuse the trial judge in the sodomy trial.

The move by Anwar to file today's application could be seen an immediate challenge for a ruling on a review application.

Apex court's controversial decision

This follows the apex court's Feb 25 decision to dismiss another Anwar's application for a review - to obtain more evidence from the prosecution in his on-going sodomy trial.

In that case, the Federal Court had refused to review its own decision and argued that Rule 137 does not confer jurisdiction on the country's highest court to such review.

A review at the Federal Court is not an automatic right as an applicant has to satisfy that "there was an error in law" for the court to agree to a review, which is extremely rare.

But the Feb 25 controversial decision may effectively deny the Federal Court its powers to grant a review.

Yesterday, former Court of Appeal judge NH Chan, had slammed the apex court's Feb 25 decision.

He argued that Rule 137 was so precise and clear that even a child could understand them.

Chan said Rule 137 states that nothing is to limit or affect "the inherent powers of the [Federal] Court … to make any order as may be necessary to prevent injustice".

Yet the three Federal Court judges, said Chan, insisted that Anwar had failed to come within "the limited exceptions" when nowhere in Rule 137 are such preconditions imposed.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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