KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi labelled the Malaysian Bar a “busybody” after the statutory body filed for a judicial review to challenge his discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) of 47 corruption charges in the misuse of tens of millions of ringgit from charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi.
Ahmad Zahid said the decision to grant the DNAA was not solely a decision made by the Attorney General (AG) as public prosecutor, but was also an order from the High Court.
“Therefore, I have been advised by my solicitors and I verily believe that the applicant has misconceived itself in filing the application for leave to commence judicial review against the first respondent,” he said in a court filing objecting to the Bar’s judicial review application.
The Bar is the applicant and the AG was named a respondent.
“I also verily believe the applicant lacks sufficient locus standi to file for leave to commence judicial review against me and the AG as they are neither a complainant adversely affected by the decision nor a victim of the criminal charges I was accused of,” Ahmad Zahid said.
Locus standi means legal standing in Latin.
“In short, the applicant is a busybody’ in this case. Only a party who is adversely or gravely affected by the decision of the public prosecutor in this case may apply for leave to file a judicial review in this case,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid contended that the Bar — a statutory body representing all practising lawyers in peninsular Malaysia — has failed to fulfil the basic requirement under Order 53 Rule 2(4) of the Rules of Court to qualify for a judicial review.
He noted that the High Court has the power to dismiss the Bar’s application for non-compliance.
The Bar’s judicial review application was heard in the High Court this morning.
During the hearing, the Attorney General’s Chambers argued that the Bar has not produced any compelling prima facie evidence to back its assertions of irrationality in its bid for a judicial review of Ahmad Zahid’s DNAA.
In response, lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan who was acting for the Bar, said it intends to file an application under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act to refer constitutional questions to the Federal Court concerning the prosecutor’s decision to apply for DNAA in Ahmad Zahid’s case.
Both the prosecution and Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers have voiced their intention to object to the reference bid.
The prosecution decided to discontinue the Yayasan Akalbudi trial, which resulted in the High Court granting Ahmad Zahid a DNAA for all 47 charges he faced.
Ahmad Zahid was accused of 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to over RM31 million of his charitable organisation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges of over RM21.25 million in alleged bribes.
At that time, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar said further investigations on Ahmad Zahid’s case had to be carried out, following the representations from the accused to the AG to ask for all 47 charges to be reviewed.
Trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah said that the prosecution had “given cogent reasons” for seeking the DNAA.