By Zalina Maizan Ngah
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has quashed the home ministry’s decision over the suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily.
As a result, the two publications can continue their operations as usual and print them.
Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad allowed the judicial review application filed by the The Edge Communication Sdn Bhd today.
She also ordered for an assessment of damages incurred by the two publications and legal costs amounting to RM15,000.
In the oral judgment, Asmabi said the minister’s decision to suspend the publications for a period of three months had breached natural justice and ultra vires Section 7 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
She said the respondent did not comply with procedural fairness as they did not give particulars of suspension to the applicant (The Edge) in the show-cause letter.
Asmabi added the minister also had taken irrelevant consideration to impose the ban and did not give the details to the applicant to reply the allegation.
“The respondent had not yet complied to the provision of procedural fairness in issuing the show-cause letter where no particulars were shown in the show-cause letter and actions which were taken ultimately, were not stated in the show-cause letter which is tantamount to a breach of natural justice which needs to be accorded to all decision makers,” she said.
Meanwhile after the proceeding, senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching told reporters that she had to take instructions from the Attorney-General’s Chambers before a decision was made to appeal.
She said: “We just have a month to do so because the suspension ends on Oct 27.”
The company, which was represented by lawyer Darryl Goon had filed an application for leave for a judicial review on July 27, by naming the ministry’s secretary-general and home minister as respondents.
The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd had applied for leave to institute proceedings under Order 53 Rule 3 of the Rules of Court 2012 for an order of certiorari for the court to quash the decision of the minister.
The minister, in a letter dated July 23 signed by one Hashimah Nik Jaafar on behalf of the minister, notified the company of the suspension of the publishing permits of both publications.
According to a letter sent to the senior managing editor of the company, Ahmad Azam Mohd Aris, the ministry said the articles on 1Malaysia Development Berhad by The Edge were detrimental to public order, security and national interest.
It also said the failure to comply with the suspension order would result in the revocation of the publishing permits of the publications.