Constitutional Law & Civil Rights

Anwar can refer Constitutional Questions over NSC to Federal Court

Date: 14 March 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (Bernama) - The High Court here today allowed Port Dickson Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to refer constitutional questions on his challenge over the implementation of the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 to the Federal Court.

Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan made the ruling in chambers in the presence of counsel J. Leela, representing Anwar.

Leela told the media that the judge had made a few amendments to the questions raised by Anwar.

The questions included whether the National Security Council Act 2016 is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect on grounds that it became a law pursuant to an unconstitutional amendment, was not enacted in accordance with Article 149 of the Federal Constitution and it violates freedom of movement as guaranteed by Article 9(2) of the Federal Constitution.

"Now we wait for the Federal Court to fix the hearing date," she said.

Anwar filed the originating summons to challenge the constitutionality of the NSC which came into force on Aug 1, 2016, but it was struck out by the High Court on grounds that the legal challenge should have been filed at the Federal Court as it involved legislative competence by Parliament.

Article 4 (4) of the Federal Constitution states that commencement of proceedings for a declaration that a law is invalid, should be filed at the Federal Court by way of obtaining leave from a Federal Court judge.

Anwar lost his appeal at the appellate court which was dismissed on Nov 6, 2017.

In March 2018, the Federal Court granted him leave to appeal against the decision.

On Nov 13, 2018, the Federal Court allowed Anwar’s appeal and remitted back the matter to the High Court for hearing of the merit.

However, on Feb 27, 2019, when the case was mentioned before Nordin, Anwar’s counsel Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had sought the High Court to transfer the matter to the Federal Court for it to decide on constitutional questions under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

In his originating summons filed on Aug 2, 2016, Anwar claimed that the implementation of NSC Act 2016 was unconstitutional and void, naming NSC and the government as the first and second defendant, respectively.

He is seeking to invalidate the NSC Act in his bid to restore the power of the King on Royal Assent.

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