Lawyer: Courts have no power to challenge emergency

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The courts have no jurisdiction to entertain any challenge against the proclamation of an emergency by the King, according to senior lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.

Azhar Mahfof/The Star

He said the Federal Constitution expressly spelt out that no court shall have jurisdiction to entertain or determine any application regarding the validity of a proclamation of emergency.

Haniff Khatri said a proper challenge should be on the advice given by the prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, instead of challenging the validity of the state of emergency.

However, he added: “Even if you challenge the advice, the court will say that, if we entertain it, indirectly we are entertaining a challenge to the proclamation of emergency. It’s not a clear situation, as there is no case law yet.”

Opposition politicians have recently said that they would seek to mount a challenge in the courts.

An academic at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Professor Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz, said the proclamation was made based on the King’s assessment and therefore there were no grounds to allow any application to challenge the validity of the proclamation.

“Some lawyers may argue that there is bad faith, I don’t think is a strong ground because the (constitutional) provision says that, for whatever reason, no one can question the proclamation of emergency,” said Shamrahayu.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, proclaimed a state of emergency from Jan 12 to Aug 1, as a proactive measure to contain the worsening Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.