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High Court Issues Ad-Hoc Practising License To Dr. Cyrus And Ambiga

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KUCHING: The High Court here today granted ad-hoc practicing licences to Datuk Dr Cyrus Das and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan as lead
counsels and co-counsel in the Court of Appeal hearing of the Election Commission’s (EC) appeal in a case involving a proposed constituency delineation and delimiting exercise carried out by the EC in Sarawak.

The appeal will be heard at the Court of Appeal in Petra Jaya on July 9. Kuching High Court judge Yew Jen Kie in her judgment today said this was a fit and proper case to issue ad-hoc practising licences to both practitioners for this appeal in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court until the final determination of the application for judicial review.

Last month the Kuching High Court issued a mandatory order directing the EC to republish a more detailed notice for public review.

The judicial review application, filed by PKR state assemblyman for Batu Lintang, See Chee How, and Paul Baya, a member of the Kayan community, sought to challenge a notice and draft constituency plan published by the EC in January this year recommending the re-delineation of constituencies which make up the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.

Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) president Leonard Shim told the court that the association was not objecting for the two practitioners to be issued with the ad-hoc practicing licenses because the case involved noble and complex questions of laws, involving provisions in the Federal Constitution.

He said the case would be a precedence to other state and federal delineation of election boundaries, as it affects the whole nation and people.

“This is one rare and exceptional case and the association considers public and national interest,” he added.

Chee How told reporters after the hearing that Dr Cyrus would be the lead counsel while Ambiga was the co-counsel together with two other local practitioners including himself.

Asked why he needed the services of Dr Cyrus and Ambiga, Chee How said:

“This case involves the constitution and I have to be frank because I don’t actually have much knowledge in constitutional law so I think the presence of Datuk Cyrus Das and Datuk Ambiga is crucial to present a good case in the appeal and of course Datuk Ambiga is also involved in lobbying for free and fair election.”

Chee said he also concurred with the president of the association (Leaonard Shim) who said whatever was the outcome of the case was going to have an impact on the state and other states too.

“It is part of the parliamentary democracy and that is why it is necessary to have the best brains in the case,” added Chee How.

On the objection by the state attorney general that there was no need for Dr Cyrus and Ambiga to be involved in the case on the ground that the case was not so unique, Chee How said it was definitely unique.

Chee How said the state attorney-general’s office will be sending state legal advisor to attend the hearing to be a friend of the court while Advocates Aassociation of Sarawak and the Bar Council of Malaysia and BERSIH will hold a watching brief.

The case is under Section 4 Notice Thirteen Schedule of the Federal Constitution which requires that such notices be published in the government gazette and in at least one newspaper stating the effects of the proposed recommendations and be made open for public inspection.

It also entitles the public to make representations with regard to the proposed recommendations which the EC is obliged to take into consideration.--BERNAMA

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