KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The High Court today dismissed Perkasa's attempt to assist it in a late deputy prime minister's son's lawsuit over a proposed Bill to increase the Shariah courts' sentencing powers.
Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, who represented the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman's son Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, said the High Court here had dismissed Perkasa's application to be amicus curiae or friend of the court in the lawsuit over “non-compliance” with the court's instructions to file in a formal application.
“They are supposed to send grounds to the Attorney-General's Chambers and the court, they didn't, they just filed a submission,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted after hearing in chambers.
Rosli said he had argued both in chambers and in a written court document that Perkasa had not followed the principles of amicus curiae and the non-governmental organisation's public statements allegedly show it is not a “neutral party.”
In the written submission responding to Perkasa's arguments and as sighted by Malay Mail Online, Rosli argued that Perkasa is allegedly widely-known to be a “Malay rightist movement” with public statements that are purportedly “frequently extremist and racist”.
He argued that Perkasa was allegedly “only interested in seeking cheap publicity and sensationalism” which would be disruptive of court proceedings and would not assist the court, also asserting that there is no special knowledge or assistance that can be given by Perkasa or its lawyer.
Lawyer Nizam Bashir, who represented Perkasa, confirmed that the the group's application for leave to be an amicus curiae was dismissed.
“The court said that we were supposed to send in a letter, since we sent a submission, so there's no reason for the application and the application was dismissed,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted, arguing however that the court had not previously directed Perkasa to file in a formal application.
“I've stated that this is a NGO that has part of its objectives as upholding Islam as the religion of the federation, it has participated in various Islamic causes in the past and the issue that is being raised is an issue that is very closely linked to its objectives,” he said of the reasons for Perkasa's application.
Nizam said that he would as Perkasa's lawyer also be able to help the court on issues such as constitutional law and Islamic issues that may arise in the lawsuit, as he had in the past dealt with cases touching on these issues.
In Perkasa's April 26 submission to support its application sighted by Malay Mail Online, it argued that it has the required background related to issues that will be raised during the lawsuit and that it would be able to “neutrally assist” the court on the legal points or practice on those issues.
The application was heard by High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Md Said, while Mansoor Saat also appeared for Tawfik and the AGC's senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan appeared for those sued by Tawfik.
Rosli said the hearing date for the lawsuit has been fixed on August 16.
Tawfik had in March filed the lawsuit asking the courts to declare PAS's proposal to increase Shariah sentencing to be in breach of the Federal Constitution and parliamentary procedure.
He had sought 10 declarations and orders that would effectively stop PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang from tabling his private member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.
Hadi had sought to increase the Shariah courts' sentencing limits from the current three years' jail, RM5,000 fine and six lashes to a new maximum of 30 years' jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes.
Tawfik had named Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah as respondents in his lawsuit.
Dr Ismail was the deputy to the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was the country's second prime minister.