Law Minister Takiyuddin Yassin has accused the Malaysian Bar of interpreting the law with a view towards gaining popularity with the public.
“As the law minister, I urge the Malaysian Bar and all legal practitioners to act according to what is enshrined in the law, including when providing an understanding and clarity to the people on the law,” he said in a statement today.
“The government is disappointed that while its machinery is channelling all efforts towards the fight against Covid-19, including financially, there are certain quarters who interpreted the law according to their own flavour, as if with an intention to gain popularity among the people,” he said.
He added that he is confident that as a legal body, the Malaysian Bar will uphold the principle of justice and the sovereignty of the country’s law.
Takiyuddin hoped it will continue to fight against efforts to distort the provisions of the law especially at a time when the country is in a critical position due to the spread of the virus.
He once again reiterated that the Emergency Ordinance will only be in effect until August 1.
The Malaysian Bar said on April 16 that it has initiated legal proceedings against the Malaysian government over certain provisions of the Emergency (Essential Powers) 2021 Ordinance, which the body claimed were either overboard or unconstitutional.
Bar president AG Kalidas said the provisions have created an imbalance between the levels of power and accountability they are subjected to.
“The emergency ordinances have resulted in more powers being conferred on the executive, while constitutional safeguards, such as parliamentary scrutiny and accountability, have been reduced,” he said in a statement.
Among the ordinances that have been passed are the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 1, which allows for federal and state legislative assemblies to be suspended; Ordinance No. 2, which makes the publication and dissemination of fake news an offence, and Ordinance No. 1 (Amendment), which allows the government to by-pass Parliament when it comes to expenditure of public funds.
Kalidas said the bar initiated the suit so the “rakyat is not deprived of the fundamental protections and procedural safeguards enshrined in our federal constitution”.
In its suit, the bar is seeking a declaration that the literal interpretation of the ordinances is “overboard and unconstitutional and inconsistent with the constitution”.
A declaration pursuant to Article 150(3) of the constitution for Parliament to convene in order to “pass all necessary and appropriate resolutions”.
The bar is also seeking a declaration that sections 5, 11(a) and (b), 14, 15 and 18 of Ordinance No. 1, sections 4 and 24 of Ordinance No. 2, and section 2 of Ordinance No. 1 (Amendment), and sections 10a and 10b of Ordinance No. 1 (as inserted by Ordinance No. 1 (Amendment)) are “unconstitutional, therefore invalid, null and void in law and of no legal effect”.
Meanwhile, Takiyuddin said the declaration of emergency following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic shows that the government is serious in containing the infectious virus.
He said the government hopes all quarters understand the efforts taken by them to curb the issue at hand for the greater good of all. – TMI