PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today ruled that a notice issued to two lawyers by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), cannot be challenged in court.

The court found that the issuance of the notice of investigation dated March 19, 2012, by MACC under section 30 (1) (a) of the MACC Act, is not amenable by a judicial review.

A notice was issued to lawyer Latheefa Koya and lawyer Murnie Hidayah Anuar, requesting them to be present at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya on March 23, 2012, to assist in the investigation into a case involving National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).

The Federal Court five-man panel of judges led by Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop allowed an appeal by MACC and overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision. The decision was read out by Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin.

“The notice was issued in order to assist the appelllant (MACC) in the investigation of a corruption offence under Section 16(b) of the act.

“To hold otherwise would expose the criminal investigative processes of all law enforcement agencies to constant judicial review. On the facts of this case, the respondents (Latheefa and Murnie) failed to establish that the notice was issued “mala fide” or in bad faith,” said Abu Samah.

On Jan 30, 2013, the High Court heard a judicial review application by the two lawyers and quashed the notice.

In the judicial review, Latheefa and Murnie named MACC, Assistant Superintendent Suziana Ali, (MACC served the notice through Suziana) and the government as the respondents. They claimed that they were being compelled, through the notice, to be present at the MACC headquarters.

The failure to abide by the notice, is an offence under section 48 (c) of the MACC Act 2009 and it is punishable under section 69 of the same act, which carries a maximum of RM10,000 fine or two years jail or both, upon conviction.

Latheefa and Murni claimed that they were served the notice on March 19, 2012, after accompanying their client, former NFC consultant, Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, to give his statement regarding a case.

They had insisted that they be allowed to be present during the recording of their former client’s statement, contending that their client had a constitutional right to be represented by the counsel.

The MACC had objected to their presence and indicated to them that there was no provision in the act, giving them any right to be present.

The other judges in the panel include Datuk Seri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi.


From The Sun Daily