Apellate Court to consider Mahathir’s bid against forex RCI tomorrow

TTF: This is a delay tactic by Mahathir to prevent persons in the know from exposing to Malaysians the extent of corruption under his tenure as Prime Minister, which saw Bank Negara being declared insolvent

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal will consider tomorrow Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid to temporarily stop a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) from investigating a 1990s financial (forex) scandal, his lawyer confirmed.

Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the Court of Appeal will hear his client’s application to stay the RCI’s proceedings — which are scheduled for 10 days from next Monday onwards — until the end of a court matter.

“Our Notis Usul for Stay of RCI pending our Appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal tomorrow morning, 18.8.17, by way of Inter-parte,” he said in a text message.

He said they had informed the Attorney-General’s Chambers at 5pm today of tomorrow’s hearing.

Earlier this afternoon, Mohamed Haniff confirmed that Dr Mahathir has filed for an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s refusal today to hear his lawsuit to disqualify two RCI members.

Mohamed Haniff confirmed to Malay Mail Online that a certificate of urgency has been filed to ask the Court of Appeal to expedite Dr Mahathir’s appeal and that a hearing date for the appeal has yet to be fixed.

This morning, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Dr Mahathir’s application for leave for judicial review to ultimately remove the RCI panel’s chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, and fellow commissioner Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon.

In a nine-page written judgment that was read out in chambers, High Court judge Datin Azizah Nawawi today said the RCI panel was correct to refuse Dr Mahathir’s application last week to disqualify the duo, noting that the powers to appoint or replace commissioners lies with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Azizah concluded that the RCI had no jurisdiction or power to appoint or replace its members, also noting that a mandamus order cannot be issued to compel the Malaysian government or prime minister to act as they are not considered a “public officer” based on past court cases.

Azizah also said she was bound by the Federal Court’s 2011 decision in former judge Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim’s lawsuit against an RCI panel, noting that the apex court had cited public interest when dismissing leave to challenge the RCI’s findings.

Last Wednesday, Dr Mahathir sued to stop Mohd Sidek and Saw from sitting on the RCI panel probing a 23-year-old alleged financial scandal, citing the need to prevent prejudice and highlighting that they were previously on a special task force panel which recommended this RCI.

In his lawsuit, Dr Mahathir sought a court order to quash the RCI panel’s decision last Tuesday to not disqualify the duo, and another court order to compel the government to immediately advise the Yang Di-pertuan Agong to revoke or terminate royal consent for the duo’s appointment to the panel.

Dr Mahathir, now the chairman of Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, also sought a court order to stop the commissioners from carrying out their roles or conducting the RCI proceedings until the end of the lawsuit.

Dr Mahathir was the prime minister during the 1990s when Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) was alleged to have incurred billions of ringgit of foreign exchange (forex) losses, an issue that will be examined by this RCI panel in 10 scheduled days of hearings within these two months (August 21, 24, 29, 30 and September 6, 7, 18, 19, 20, 21.).

The RCI panel has to complete its inquiry based on five terms of reference within three months and plans to submit its report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the scheduled date of October 13.

The seven respondents named in Dr Mahathir’s lawsuit were Mohd Sidek, Saw, their three fellow commissioners Datuk Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Pushpanathan S.A Kanagarayar, the RCI secretary Datuk Yusof Ismail and the government of Malaysia.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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