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Courts cannot interfere, rules Federal Court

Courts cannot interfere, rules Federal Court
Justice Raus (pix) says Teng had acted legally under Article 69 of the Selangor State Constitution in declaring the Port Klang seat then held by Badrul Hisham Abdullah, vacant on Jan 19, 2011. - Filepic
PUTRAJAYA: The courts have no power to interfere with the internal management of Parliament or any State Legislative Assembly which are immune from judicial interference, rules the Federal Court today.

Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif chairing a five-man panel said immunity arose from the doctrine of separation of powers between the three principal organs of government, namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

"There can be no doubt that the business of parliament and state legislative assemblies were immune from judicial interference," he said in ruling that the then Selangor State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim's action to declare the Port Klang constituency seat vacant in 2011 could not be challenged in court.

Justice Raus said Teng had acted legally under Article 69 of the Selangor State Constitution in declaring the Port Klang seat then held by Badrul Hisham Abdullah, vacant on Jan 19, 2011.

"Even though the declaration was made outside the State Legislative Assembly proceedings, it was inevitably connected with the essential business of the State Legislative Assembly, made within the parameters set out by Article 69 of the Selangor Constitution," he said.
Justice Raus said Teng's action to declare Badrul Hisham's seat vacant was in exercise of his functions to regulate the internal affairs of the state legislative assembly and was immune from challenge in court.

He said the declaration made by Teng in a press conference was inevitably connected to the essential business of the state legislative assembly and was made in the performance of his essential function as a Speaker.

He said the speaker's act was nonjusticiable and that he was entitled to the protection of parliamentary privilege enjoyed by the state legislative assembly as provided for under the Federal Constitution and the Selangor state constitution.

The apex court panel also comprising Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Zainun Ali and Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin allowed Teng's appeal to set aside the high court and appellate court’s decisions.

Badrul Hisham filed a legal action in Shah Alam High Court on Jan 21, 2011 after Teng declared his constituency seat vacant due to his (Badrul Hisham's) absence from state assembly meetings for a period of six months with the leave of the speaker.

The Shah Alam High Court on Feb 18, 2011 ruled in favour of Badrul Hisham, and he remained as Port Klang assemblyman.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the high court decision prompting Teng to appeal to the Federal Court.

Badrul Hisham was elected as assemblyman for Port Klang in the 12th general election in March 2008.

-- BERNAMA