15 May 2018 (DISQUIET)

On The Attorney General

There are calls for a non-political Attorney General.

If the Attorney General were only the Public Prosecutor, this would make sense. You would want the person vested with the power and discretion to prosecute to be wholly free from influence.

However, the Federal Constitution says that the Attorney General is also the Public Prosecutor, and thus serves the dual function of both being the legal advisor to, and the representative of, the Government as well as the Public Prosecutor.


15 May 2018 (Malay Mail)

Lawyers: Team of Eminent Persons not unconstitutional, Cabinet will have final say

The Team of Eminent Persons advising the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is not unconstitutional or illegal as its advice is non-binding upon the Cabinet, according to legal interpretations. Lawyers told Malay Mail that the ministers were also not obliged to act on the team’s counsel, further explaining that it will be Cabinet ministers who report and answer to Parliament.


14 May 2018 (Malay Mail)

Are there lessons from Perak MB crisis for Sabah CM row?

The 2010 Federal court decision in the Perak mentri besar tussle will most certainly be cited in the likely legal battle for the Sabah chief minister post. However, legal minds have differing views over how the court decision, which was in favour of Barisan Nasional (BN), can or ought to be interpreted in Sabah.


26 March 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

Anyone, anywhere is a target under anti-fake news law

THE Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 gives the government excessively broad powers, including extra-territorial jurisdiction that allows it to charge or detain any person, even outside Malaysia, whatever his nationality or citizenship, who publishes what it perceives to be fake news, said law practitioners.


12 March 2018 (Free Malaysia Today)

Formation Of Penang CM Corporation Legal, Says Federal Court

The Federal Court today ruled as constitutional the setting up of Chief Minister of Penang Corporation to, among others, hold acquired land from private owners for public purpose in the state.

View the Federal Court Judgment (PDF)


25 Nov 2017 (Malay Mail)

Lawyers: Being atheist, promoting atheism protected by Constitution

The Federal Constitution protects the right of Malaysians to be an atheist and to promote atheism, lawyers have said. Civil rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan said being an atheist is protected under the Federal Constitution, also noting that there are no constitutional provisions specifically prohibiting the spreading of atheism.


15 Nov 2017 (Malay Mail)

Lawyers: Workplace discrimination law won’t affect Bumiputera quotas

Enacting a law against employment discrimination will not contradict constitutional provisions that provide for Bumiputera quotas for positions in public service, lawyers said. Lawyer Surendra Ananth noted that the Federal Constitution’s Article 153 ― which covers the special position of Malays and Sabah and Sarawak’s natives


9 Sep 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

MCMC had no authority to block Steam, say legal experts

THE Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had no legal authority to block online gaming store Steam, lawyers said. Yesterday, MCMC blocked Steam, the world's largest online gaming store, for selling the game Fight with Gods, which the commission deemed offensive to religious sensitivities.


7 Aug 2017 (NST Online)

Federal Court overturns decision; Ex-Chin Woo head to pay RM100K to another ex-president instead

Complaints lodged to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Commercial Crime investigation Department (CCID) and Registrar of Societies (RoS) are protected by absolute privilege, just like police reports, the Federal Court held.


4 Aug 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

Tough road ahead for Bar challenge against chief justice

DESPITE a strong mandate from Malaysian Bar members to mount a challenge, the legal journey to overturn Chief Justice Raus Sharif’s term extension will be fraught with conflict-of-interest challenges, said constitutional experts. Raus is due to be officially sworn in tonight as an additional judge and remain as the chief justice.


11 July 2017 (Malay Mail Online)

Mais gets court’s nod to continue bid to stop SIS’s ‘deviant’ fatwa challenge

The Federal Court today allowed the Selangor religious authorities to continue with its bid to end Sisters in Islam’s (SIS) legal challenge against a fatwa labelling the latter as “deviant”. The Federal Court said the five questions of law submitted by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and two others sued by SIS need to be discussed in court.


28 June 2017 (Chambers and Partners)

International Arbitration 2017

Dato’ Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is one of Malaysia's leading advocates. With more than 20 years experience as a litigator and about 200 reported decisions in a diverse range of practice areas to his credit, he has firmly established himself as a point of reference in dispute resolution.


18 June 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

Rosmah’s threat to sue likely to remain just that, say lawyers

THE threat by Rosmah Mansor to sue those who produce "false, malicious publications or postings" is likely a blustering attempt to intimidate her critics and cow social media users without resulting in any real legal action, say lawyers.


14 June 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

Peluang bicara semula kes Anwar jika dakwaan bayaran RM9.5 juta benar

DAKWAAN pembayaran RM9.5 juta kepada Muhammad Shafee Abdullah yang mengetuai pendakwaan dalam kes liwat Anwar Ibrahim, boleh menyebabkan perbicaraan semula berdasarkan hujah pembelaan konspirasi politik, kata peguam hak asasi manusia kepada forum malam tadi.


13 June 2017 (Malaysia Kini)

Court orders Jawi to give details of officers in transgender event raid

The High Court has given the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) 14 days to release details of its officers involved in arresting lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim during a raid on a transgender event in April last year.


19 May 2017 (Free Malaysia Today)

Kes 5 pelajar saman UM, UKM akan diputuskan 11 Julai

Mahkamah Tinggi menetapkan 11 Julai ini untuk membuat keputusan terhadap saman pemula yang difailkan 5 pelajar Universiti Malaya (UM) dan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) ke atas 2 institusi pengajian tinggi awam itu...


14 May 2017 (Malay Mail Online)

Lawyers: EC can’t finish Peninsula redelineation without Selangor, Melaka inquiries

The Election Commission (EC) cannot push ahead and seek Parliament’s nod for its redelineation exercise of Peninsular Malaysia without hearing out objections from Selangor and Melaka, lawyers have said.


7 May 2017 (The Malaysian Insight)

PM is a public officer, say lawyers

Over Teh Tarik is an occasional series appearing when issues – constitutional/legal, social, cultural, religious – need clarification and debate, where The Malaysian Insight invites experts and impassioned advocates to chat over a meal, and after.

For the first meal of tosai and tea, Thor Kah Hoong’s dinner guests were professor Aziz Bari and lawyers Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Surendra Ananth.


25 Apr 2017 (Malay Mail Online)

Group bids to drop voting age to 18

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — A group of youths have started a campaign to lower the eligible voting age from 21 to 18 years old, saying young adults were the largest age group in the country. Calling themselves Undi18, the six youths kicked off a signature campaign last Saturday to generate support for their call to give young Malaysians a bigger say in the country’s direction.


19 APRIL 2017 (FMT News)

Court dismisses UKM bid to get RM50,000 from student before suit

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need for student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi to fork out RM50,000 to pay Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as security costs, before the hearing of his suit against the university. Asheeq’s lawyer, Surendra Ananth told reporters this after the hearing in chambers before High Court judge Justice S Nantha Balan. Today was fixed for hearing of UKM’s application to seek RM50,000 as security costs from Asheeq before the hearing of the main lawsuit next month.


18 Apr 2017 (Malaysiakini)

Two Perak DAP MPs challenge EC's redelineation

Two Perak DAP MPs have mounted a challenge against the Election Commission's (EC) redelineation exercise in the state, including on the ground that the first local inquiry held for the constituencies of Ipoh Barat and Ipoh Timur were unlawful. Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran and Ipoh Timur MP Thomas Su, appeared with lawyer Surendra Ananth in the leave (permission) for judicial review application before Ipoh High Court judge Justice Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali.


11 April 2017 (The Sun Daily)

Court of Appeal dismisses MAIS' intervener bid in Zi Publications appeal

PUTRAJAYA: Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) today failed in its bid to intervene in the appeal by ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and its director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid against a high court's dismissal of their judicial review application. A three-member Court of Appeal panel led by Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed MAIS' application, ruling that it had no direct interest in the appeal.


19 MARCH 2017 (The Star Online)

Be brave enough to dissent

KUALA LUMPUR: Judges must be courageous to maintain public confidence in the judiciary and express dissenting views where necessary, said the Sultan of Perak. Describing the current situation in the country as “challenging”, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said it was crucial for judges to help ensure that the public has high and clear regard for the judiciary.

“We live in challenging times, in which our institutions sometimes seem to be under threat. “More than ever, we need courageous and fair-minded judges to instil confidence that the judicial system remains sacrosanct in guarding the rights, interests and liberty of all,”


16 MARCH 2017 (Malay Mail Online)

Lawyers: Redelineation without Selangor puts entire exercise at risk

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) may be compelled to repeat its proposed redelineation for peninsular Malaysia if it insists on proceeding without Selangor that is challenging the exercise, according to legal experts.

They noted that Selangor’s legal suit against the proposed redelineation was currently ongoing and that the courts may decide that the EC must start the entire exercise anew, putting into jeopardy the time and resources already spent.


14 MARCH 2017 (NST Online)

Former Cold Storage directors' acquittal in RM185 million CBT case upheld

KUALA LUMPUR: Two former directors of Cold Storage (M) Bhd breathed a sigh of relief when the High Court here today upheld their acquittal from a criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge involving RM185 million 20 years ago.

Judge Datuk Nordin Hasan made the decision after dismissing the prosecution's appeal against a sessions court decision on June 20, 2011, which acquitted and discharged Datuk Yip Yee Foo, 58, and Datuk Chun Wai Meng, 52. In his judgement, Nordin said the High Court was satisfied with the trial court's verdict, which held that the defence had established a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.


2 MARCH 2017 (The Star Online)

Sisters in Islam's case against fatwa goes back to High Court

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has allowed Sisters in Islam (SIS) to challenge a gazetted fatwa (edict) in Selangor that declared the Muslim women’s rights group as deviating from Islam.

Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ordered for the merits of the judicial review bid by SIS to be heard by another High Court judge.


16 JANUARY 2017 (The Star Online)

Student sues university over the right to peaceful assembly

KUALA LUMPUR: An undergraduate has initiated legal proceedings against his university and two others, saying he was seeking to uphold his constitutional rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, 21, a third year law student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said he was issued with a suspension order for participating in the #TangkapMO1 rally on Aug 27 last year.


11 JANUARY 2017 (Malay Mail Online)

Retired policeman denied leave to appeal over his petition for admission to bar

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — Retired investigating officer in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy II case Judy Blacious Pereira was denied leave to appeal by the Federal Court today over his petition to become a practising lawyer. A three-man panel led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum unanimously dismissed Pereira’s application for leave to appeal after ruling that he failed to fulfil the requirements of Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.


3 JANUARY 2017 (The Star Online)

Nurul Izzah's application against redelineation exercise to be heard on Feb 15

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has set Feb 15 for the substantive hearing of the judicial review application to challenge the Election Commission's proposed redelineation exercise. The decision was made Tuesday by Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan, who allowed the application filed by a group led by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.


3 JANUARY 2017 (My Sinchew)

Appeals Court rejects MKini's application on Najib's suit

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- Online news portal publisher Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and two of its editors have failed to recuse a Seremban High Court Judge from hearing a libel suit filed against them by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Court of Appeal's three-man bench led by Justice Datuk David Wong Dak Wah today dismissed the appeal brought by Mkini Dotcom, its editor-in-chief, Steven Gan and chief editor Fathi Aris Omar as they had not reached the threshold of the real danger of bias test.



The year in review: Awards returned; sexism controversy; piracy threat; Dentsu overcharging scandal erupts in Japan

Leo Burnett carried out its threat and started legal proceedings against Malaysian film maker Tan Chui Mui who had accused the agency of plagiarism over its ‘rubber boy’ commercial for Petronas. Tan responded by hiring lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar on a pro bono basis and said she would “not talk more about my issues with Leo Burnett until I see them in court”.


11 DECEMBER 2016 (Malay Mail Online)

Lawyers: Change state Islamic laws to match proposed unilateral child conversion ban

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — All state Islamic laws that currently allow children to be unilaterally converted to Islam should be amended to match a proposed federal law barring such acts, lawyers have said.

Lawyers said that the Perlis amendment of its state law on Thursday — which removed the need for both parents’ consent before a child can be converted to Islam — contradicts and conflicts with a planned federal law amendment.


25 NOVEMBER 2016 (FMT)

Hadi’s bill is about hudud, even if amended

In recent years the constitutional landscape of Southeast Asia has changed tremendously. Against a worldwide background of liberalization, globalization, and democratization, states in the region have begun to alter their constitutions, reinforcing human rights provisions, and putting in place institutional safeguards, such as constitutional courts and human rights commissions.


14 OCTOBER 2016 (The Sun Daily)

SFC: Local inquiry is proper forum for delineation complaints

The proper forum for voters to raise complaints of adequacies of details concerning recommendation for delineation of a constituency is at a local inquiry conducted by the Election Commssion (EC) and not through the court, the Court of Appeal heard today. Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan argued that Section 5 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution...



Politics and Constitutions in Southeast Asia

In recent years the constitutional landscape of Southeast Asia has changed tremendously. Against a worldwide background of liberalization, globalization, and democratization, states in the region have begun to alter their constitutions, reinforcing human rights provisions, and putting in place institutional safeguards, such as constitutional courts and human rights commissions.



A Colorable Exercise Of Power

The National Security Council Bill 2015 (the ‘Bill’) was moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Seri Shahidan bin Kassim, on 1 December 2015, in the Dewan Rakyat. In moving the Bill, the Minister invoked art 74(1) of the Federal Constitution (‘the Constitution’) and positioned the Bill as concerning matters...



Confronting The Constitutionality Of Hudud

On 25 November 1993, the Kelantan State Legislature had unanimously passed the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 (‘1993 Enactment’).1 The aim of the 1993 Enactment was to introduce a broader scheme of Islamic criminal law than had been hitherto established in Kelantan or any other state in the Federation and which overlapped with the federal criminal law framework.


14 SEPTEMBER 2016 (NST Online)

Court dismisses Malaysiakini's bid to recuse judge in suit by Najib

Online news publisher, Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and two of its editors lost their bid to quash the Chief Justice's decision to appoint a judge who has been transferred to the Seremban High Court to hear a defamation suit against them by the prime minister. In a unanimous decision, a three-man panel led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum...


9 AUGUST 2016 (Malay Mail Online)

Fatwa on ‘Pokemon Go’ is unconstitutional

The Fatwa issued by the Wilayah Persekutuan Fatwa Committee on August 1, 2016 has unsurprisingly engendered controversy on various fronts. This is but one of the many fatwas that has sparked controversy. The said fatwa states that “permainan Pokemon Go dan Pokemon adalah tidak dibenarkan bagi Umat Islam” (the “Fatwa”). My esteemed colleague from the Malaysian Bar, Syahredzan Johan, had recently written...


18 JULY 2016 (FMT)

Sodomy 2 cop’s bid to practise law delayed

The Court of Appeal found Jude Pereira did not comply with the High Court's order to attend eight hours of human rights classes. A three judge panel of the Federal Court postponed on Monday the hearing for leave by the former policeman to challenge last year’s Court of Appeal’s decision that he did not comply with the High Court’s order to attend eight hours of a human rights course organised by the Bar Committee...


24 JUNE 2016 (NST Online)

Court rejects Sisters in Islam's legal bid against 'deviant group' label

The High Court today ruled that only the Syariah Court has the power to decide on the validity of the Selangor fatwa that labelled Sisters In Islam (SIS) as a ‘deviant group.’ Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah made this ruling in dismissing a legal challenge by SIS Forum (Malaysia) and two others against the decision of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council and the Selangor Fatwa Committee...


20 JUNE 2016 (The Sun Daily)

NMI relies on 1968 research design

The formal proceedings of the Sun Media Corporation's case versus global market researcher The Nielsen Company (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd commenced on June 13 in the court of Justice Lee Swee Seng. Lee utilised the first four days to execute an interesting hot-tub session. Independent expert witnesses nominated by both parties were invited to share their knowledge and opinions regarding the core technical issues of the case, also referred to as the terms of reference...


19 MAY 2016 (Malay Mail Online)

The right to leave the country and travel abroad

The right to leave (includes right to a passport and to travel abroad) is well entrenched under international law. It is recognised, amongst others, under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) and Article 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also recognised in most Commonwealth jurisdictions.


24 MARCH 2016 (Malay Mail Online)

Sedition Act unconstitutional as it pre-dates Parliament, apex court hears

The Sedition Act 1948 that criminalises speech is unconstitutional as the law was not created by Malaysia's Parliament, the Federal Court was told today. Lawyer Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar representing Universiti Malaya law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom disputed Putrajaya's argument that the colonial-era law was considered as having been made by Parliament as it was created by the legislative body’s predecessor.