PUTRAJAYA:The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will be invited as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to participate in the appeal hearing over a summons issued by the Selangor State Assembly to lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun.
The Selangor State Assembly, its House Rights and Privileges Committee secretary Mohamad Yasid Bidin and the committee are appealing to the Federal Court against a High Court ruling that quashed its summons to compel Hafarizam to appear before the committee to answer charges for contempt of the assembly.
The appeal was scheduled to be heard before a five-member Federal Court panel today, but Hafarizam’s counsel, Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, suggested to the panel whether it would be appropriate for the court to extend an invitation to the AGC, for a senior federal counsel to be present in the appeal which would involve important constitutional issues.
He said the AGC were invited as amicus curiae in the same matter at the Court of Appeal stage.
Counsel Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, representing the Selangor State Assembly, Mohamad Yasid and the House Rights and Privileges Committee supported the application, saying that the AGC’s presence in the appeal would be useful.
Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who chaired the panel, agreed and subsequently adjourned the hearing to Feb 25.
The appellants were given a nod on Oct 21, 2014 to proceed with their appeal in the Federal Court on three legal questions for the court to determine.
On April 1, 2011, Hafarizam and his client, former Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah, were referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for contempt of the state assembly after the house approved a motion to refer the two of them.
Former state assembly speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim had, on Jan 19, 2011, declared the Port Klang seat vacant, claiming that Badrul Hisham was absent without leave from the state assembly sitting for six consecutive months, but the Shah Alam High Court reversed the order on Feb 18, 2011 and ordered Teng to pay RM40,000 in legal costs to Badrul Hisham.
Hafarizam, was issued with a summons on April 12, 2011 to appear before the House Rights and Privileges Committee to answer contempt charges for sending a letter to Teng’s lawyer, Messrs Tommy Thomas, to demand payment of RM40,000 in costs pursuant to the court order.
He was alleged to have sent the letter which contained language deemed indecent, insolent and threatening.
On May 31, 2011, the Shah Alam High Court allowed Hafarizam’s bid to quash the summons and on Feb 10, 2014, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by the state assembly, Mohamad Yasid and the committee and upheld the High Court’s decision.