PUTRAJAYA – The Federal Court today dismissed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s application to obtain leave to appeal over his challenge on the appointment of the chairman and a member of the Royal Commission Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the foreign exchange losses incurred by Bank Negara in the 1990’s.
Chief Justice Tun Raus Sharif, chairing a three-member bench, said the court was of the view that there was nothing wrong for RCI chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and one of the members, Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, to be on the RCI panel even though they were in the special task force.
The other judges presiding were Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Tan Sri Ramly Ali.
The former prime minister was seeking leave to appeal to the Federal Court against the High Court’s refusal to grant him leave to commence a judicial review to quash the RCI’s decision in rejecting his request to disqualify Mohd Sidek Hassan and Saw from presiding on the RCI panel.
The High Court had on Aug 17 last year dismissed Dr Mahathir’s application.
He appealed to the Court of Appeal , which dismissed the appeal on Dec 13 last year.
On Aug 9, last year, Dr Mahahthir filed a leave application to initiate a judicial review to disqualify Mohd Sidek , who is Petroliam Nasional Bhd chairman, and Saw, who is the Special Task Force on Facilitating Businesses (Pemandu) co-chairman, from sitting as RCI chairman and a member respectively.
He named RCI members Mohd Sidek, High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said, Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Saw, Malaysian Institute of Accountants member K. Puspanathan, RCI secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail and the government of Malaysia as respondents.
In the leave application, Dr Mahathir also sought a mandamus order for the government or cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the appointment of Mohd Sidek and Saw as members of the RCI.
He filed the application on grounds that the RCI had breached natural justice as Mohd Sidek and Saw were also members of a task force responsible for the investigation that forwarded a recommendation to advise the cabinet to form the RCI.
Dr Mahathir was represented by counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, while senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching appeared for the respondents. – BERNAMA