KUCHING: The High Court here today granted ad-hocÂ 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 ElectionÂ Commission’s (EC) appeal in a case involving a proposed constituency delineationÂ 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.Â Kuching High Court judge Yew Jen Kie in her judgment today said this was a fitÂ and proper case to issue ad-hoc practising licences to both practitioners for thisÂ appeal in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court until the finalÂ determination of the application for judicial review.
Last month the Kuching High Court issued a mandatory order directing the ECÂ to republish a more detailed notice for public review.
The judicial review application, filed by PKR state assemblyman for BatuÂ Lintang, See Chee How, and Paul Baya, a member of the Kayan community, sought toÂ challenge a notice and draft constituency plan published by the EC in JanuaryÂ this year recommending the re-delineation of constituencies which make up theÂ Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.
Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) president Leonard Shim told the courtÂ that the association was not objecting for the two practitioners to be issuedÂ with the ad-hoc practicing licenses because the case involved noble and complexÂ questions of laws, involving provisions in the Federal Constitution.
He said the case would be a precedence to other state and federalÂ delineation of election boundaries, as it affects the whole nation and people.
â€œThis is one rare and exceptional case and the association considers publicÂ and national interest,â€ he added.
Chee How told reporters after the hearing that Dr Cyrus would be the leadÂ counsel while Ambiga was the co-counsel together with two other localÂ practitioners including himself.
Asked why he needed the services of Dr Cyrus and Ambiga, Chee How said:
â€œThis case involves the constitution and I have to be frank because I donâ€™tÂ actually have much knowledge in constitutional law so I think the presence ofÂ Datuk Cyrus Das and Datuk Ambiga is crucial to present a good case in the appealÂ and of course Datuk Ambiga is also involved in lobbying for free and fairÂ election.â€
Chee said he also concurred with the president of the association (LeaonardÂ Shim) who said whatever was the outcome of the case was going to have an impactÂ on the state and other states too.
â€œIt is part of the parliamentary democracy and that is why it is necessary to have the best brains in the case,â€ added Chee How.
On the objection by the state attorney general that there was no need for DrÂ Cyrus and Ambiga to be involved in the case on the ground that the case was notÂ so unique, Chee How said it was definitely unique.
Chee How said the state attorney-general’s office will be sending stateÂ legal advisor to attend the hearing to be a friend of the court while AdvocatesÂ Aassociation of Sarawak and the Bar Council of Malaysia and BERSIH will hold aÂ watching brief.
The case is under Section 4 Notice Thirteen Schedule of the FederalÂ Constitution which requires that such notices be published in the governmentÂ gazette and in at least one newspaper stating the effects of the proposedÂ recommendations and be made open for public inspection.
It also entitles the public to make representations with regard to theÂ proposed recommendations which the EC is obliged to take into consideration.--BERNAMA