Malaysian Bar seeks court order to reverse Zahid’s DNAA

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The Malaysian Bar has filed a challenge against the attorney-general’s decision to seek a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over 47 corruption charges.

In a media statement on its official web portal this afternoon, the legal profession’s statutory body said it has filed for a judicial review of the decision at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The Bar said that it is challenging the AG’s decision to seek a DNAA on Sept 4 (which the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed) as part of its statutory duty to uphold the cause of justice without fear or favour.

“It cannot be disputed that Zahid’s trial commenced more than four years ago on Nov 18, 2019, where a prima facie case was established – with 77 days of trial having been conducted, Zahid’s 15th witness giving evidence, and the matter being in the midst of its defence stage on Sept 4, 2023 – when assertions were made by the AG that further investigation by MACC was needed based on several representations made by Zahid in December 2022, three years after the case had commenced.

“It is the Malaysian Bar’s concerted view that the AG’s discretionary powers under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution are not absolute and should be restricted in its scope and limit, exercised in a justiciable manner as determined by the courts under its revisionary powers and inherent jurisdiction by the law,” the Bar said.

From the press release, Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah said Zahid’s case holds national and public interest as it involves grave accusations of criminal breach of trust, bribery, and money laundering against an individual in power and authority during the time of the charge.

She said the judicial review seeks multiple reliefs, among them a certiorari order to quash the AG’s decision in applying for the DNAA in Zahid’s case and a declaration that the AG’s decision is null and void and/or made over the jurisdictions and/or powers under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and section 254(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Cheah said the legal action also seeks a mandamus order to direct the AG to furnish the Malaysian Bar with all information, documentation, reasons, basis, and particulars relied upon in deciding to seek DNAA, including (but not limited to) the letters of representation issued by Zahid’s legal team.

She explained the unsealed copies of the judicial review application and supporting affidavit were served on the AG earlier today.

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“The Malaysian Bar cannot emphasise enough the importance of a judicial review process – which is specifically designed to challenge decisions, actions, or omissions of public bodies if checks and balances on the Executive and Legislative are required, and/or where the basic structure of our Federal Constitution is called into question for proper interpretation – in the interest of our democracy,” Cheah said. – Malaysiakini