‘The dissolution of the state assembly is a non-justiciable subject.’
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has refused former Bukit Katil assemblyman Adly Zahari’s leave application for a judicial review to challenge the Melaka governor’s decision to dissolve the state assembly on the purported advice of then chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali.
Judge Noorin Badaruddin said as the head of state, Mohd Ali Rustam’s decision-making process whether to dissolve the assembly was non-justiciable (cannot be challenged in court).
“A dissolution of the legislature is non-justiciable and as such not amenable to judicial review,” she said.
Today was set for decision in Adly’s judicial review leave application targeting the Malacca state assembly dissolution.
Two days ago was the nomination day for the upcoming state polls set for Nov 20. Adly is the candidate for Bukit Katil state seat on a Pakatan Harapan ticket.
On Oct 22, Adly filed the judicial review leave application to invalidate the state assembly’s dissolution.
Former Malacca chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali, former state assembly speaker Ab Rauf Yusoh, the Election Commission (EC), and Malacca Governor Mohd Ali Rustam, were named as the first, second, third and fourth respondents in the legal action.
During open-court proceedings this morning, Noorin ruled that Ali had rightly exercised his discretionary power under Article 7(4) and 19(2) of the Malacca state constitution to dissolve the state assembly on Oct 4.
The judge explained that Sulaiman was merely making a request to Ali for the state assembly to dissolve.
She noted that precedents have been set by the Federal Court in similar cases involving the Perak and Sabah state assemblies, whereby proclamations of state assembly dissolutions are non-justiciable as it is the prerogative of the state executives.
She pointed out that the apex court rulings decided that such issues are inherently unsuited to adjudication.
“In light of the judicial pronouncements by the apex court, it is of the considered view that the subject matter of the present applicant has been settled and the leave application does not merit further argument at the substantive stage.
“The leave prayed for by the applicant is therefore dismissed with no order as to costs,” Noorin said.
Collapse of PN administration
After the decision was delivered, lawyer Razlan Hadri told the court that he would be seeking further instructions from his client Adly on whether to file an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Senior federal counsel S Narkunavathy appeared for the four respondents.
On Oct 4, four assemblypersons led by Umno’s then Sungai Udang representative Idris Haron announced their decision to withdraw support for then Malacca chief minister Sulaiman.
The other three were Nor Azman Hassan, Noor Effandi Ahmad, and Norhizam Hassan Baktee. The trio were then assemblypersons for Pantai Kundor, Telok Mas, and Pengkalan Batu respectively.
Following the collapse of the state’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration, Ali decided to dissolve the state assembly, paving the way for a state election on Nov 20.
The judicial review was targeting the validity of Sulaiman’s advice to Ali for the state assembly to be dissolved.
Adly sought several declarations, among them that it was illegal and null and void for Ali, on or around Oct 4, to dissolve the Malacca 14th legislative assembly pursuant to Article 19(2) of the state constitution, due to Sulaiman having allegedly ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the 28 assemblypersons, prior to the advice.
He sought declarations that Sulaiman’s advice to Ali on or around Oct 4 to dissolve the Malacca state legislature, was null and void due to being done not only in mala fide (in bad faith), but was also unreasonable and irrational due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
Adly also sought an order of certiorari to quash the EC’s order issued on Oct 18, for the holding of the Malacca state elections.