28 February 2013
Summary of SUARAM Judicial Review Application
Matter: Judicial Review Application No. R2-25-5-01/2013 (Hearing)
Venue: Mahkamah Tinggi RKK2, Right Wing, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur
Judge: Dato Zaleha Yusof
Legal Counsel: Edmund Bon Tai Soon, New Sin Yew, Khor Boon How and Wong Kar Fai
The matter was heard in chambers before Yang Arif Dato Zaleha Yusof. Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd (SUARAM) and Roger Chan were represented by Edmund Bon, New Sin Yew and Khor Boon How. Counsel for the AG representing the Registrar of Society (RoS) has confirmed that they have concluded and ceased all investigation against SUARAM and will not investigate further. The RoS has issued a letter to this effect.
On that basis, SUARAM’s lead counsel Edmund Bon has requested for a short adjournment until 11th March 2013 so that the AG’s chambers could instruct the RoS to issue a letter to withdraw all outstanding orders/notices which were issued to various individuals deemed to be related to SUARAM. In the event SUARAM does not receive such letter from the RoS, SUARAM will proceed with the leave application.
SUARAM’s judicial review was filed on 5th January 2013 to seek a certiorari order to quash a notice issued to SUARAM’s lawyer, Roger Chan under S51(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, and to seek declarations that the said notice was null, void and unenforceable. Roger Chan, had been ordered to produce SUARAM’s documents to the Investigating Officer. By requesting privileged documents and information belonging to SUARAM from our lawyer, the RoS has violated solicitors/client privilege and confidentiality under the Legal Profession Act 1976. This is a complete mockery of fundamental principle of solicitor- client confidentiality by which lawyers are bound.
SUARAM and its lawyers had in the past advised and maintained that the RoS has no jurisdiction over Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, a company duly registered under Companies Act 1965. Section 2 of the Societies Act 1966 expressly defines a “Society” to inter exclude “any company registered under the provisions of any written law relating to companies for the time being in force in Malaysia”. SUARAM had since the beginning of RoS investigation provided its full cooperation in good faith despite RoS’ refusal to respond to SUARAM’s letters requesting them to state their jurisdiction and powers over SUARAM.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all Malaysians who believe in our cause, civil societies, regional and international NGOs, as well SUARAM staff and volunteers to stand firm and fight the intimidation and harassment by the government.Our pledge to fight for human rights and civil liberties stand and will continue for many years to come.