QC Laidlaw’s Appeal for ad hoc admission post-SRC may be for other cases against former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak!
English QC Jonathan Laidlaw may succeed against all odds, in seeking ad hoc admission to the High Court of Malaya, if he can perhaps go beyond law and case law, whether settled or otherwise. He can cite the inherent discretionary powers of the court, whether exercised previously or otherwise, and persuade it in his favour as Commonwealth citizen under Article 29.
It was the law which denied his first Application, although there were valid reasons why he should have been allowed, and patently, it would be pointless Appealing under the same law. I stand corrected.
The Federal Court would say that there were no errors in facts, and no errors in law, when the lower court denied Laidlaw.
The court — beyond law — can make the QC’s ad hoc admission a one-time affair in law, never to be repeated by him or by others. The court can add that it cannot be cited by future Applications as precedent.
The ad hoc admission, if it comes to pass, would not make case law and would not be placed in the public domain as a matter of public record. It would not be material for reference.
In that case, the objections by the Bar Council, would be rendered academic and cease to exist. The Bar Council has no locus standi on matters which involve the court’s discretion on a case by case basis.
Laidlaw, having missed the boat on the Mon 15 Aug 2022 RM42m SRC International Appeal in the Federal Court, except for the Review if any, wants to represent former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in his many cases, all criminal, still in court.
In any case, to digress a little, Najib’s Petition for Pardon may already be with the Agong. It’s not known whether the Petition includes the wife although she was not in public office. The Petition, being beyond law, can cover Prime Minister and wife.
Hopefully, the Petition does not mention the RM42m SRC International conviction by the High Court and upheld by the court of appeal and Federal Court. There would be no need to mention High Court Judge Nazlan, the MACC, new evidence, the Chief Justice refusing to recuse herself, her husband’s controversial posts in FaceBook and membership in a political party, Trial by Media, the judges not reading Defence Submission, and the Federal Court not allowing the new defence team more time for Appeal.
The Petition can seek Pardon for the tenure from 2009 to 2018 — read “acts in office” — when Najib was Prime Minister. The Pardon would render the three court Rulings on SRC academic. The SRC case would cease to exist as if it never existed. All other cases against Najib, covering the period 2009 to 2018, would cease to exist as if they never existed.
Second Time For Laidlaw
Apparently, Laidlaw hopes that luck would be with him the second time in going for another bite at the cherry for ad hoc admission to the High Court of Malaya under sec 19 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA). He was knocked off the first time by among others the national language under Article 152. See here.
It’s not known why Laidlaw decided to Appeal against High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid’s decision against him on July 21. The judge cited sec 19 of the LPA.
Laidlow filed for ad hoc admission on May 31 under sec 18 (1) of the LPA. Other details may be found in the two links posted above.
When push comes to shove, and the worse comes to the worst, Laidlaw may not be able to make a difference for the better if there’s no rule of law. The court in Malaysia may no longer be about the rule of law. It has allegedly been acting with impunity, especially in high profile political cases, and belabouring in the delusion that the letter of the law, by itself, is law. It isn’t law at all but dictatorship as in other countries headed by Control Freaks.
Laidlaw may only be able to help keep Najib in the public eye through the cases, for votes, and by going through their merits in other Commonwealth jurisdictions and elsewhere among lawyers worldwide.
That may help usher in long overdue legal reforms and reforms in law education which remains light years behind the rest of the world.
Laidlaw may also help highlight the reality, and growing realisation, that Bahasa whatever the variation has killed the justice system in Malaysia.
Bahasa, unlike the English language which has one million words — a billion if extended words are included — isn’t a language for law.
Bahasa Melayu, the national language under Article 152, has only 20K words.
Bahasa Malaysia, which replaced Bahasa Melayu in official use by 1969, has 40K words including many loanwords from the English language and even Bahasa Indonesia. Bahasa Malaysia isn’t the national language under Article 152 which implies the Johor-Rhio-Lingga version of Bahasa Melayu as found in common usage as medium of communication.
Order 92, Rule 1, of the Rules of the High Court 2012 on the national language may be redundant. Laidlaw can file a certificate of urgency on Order 92, Rule 1, for cause papers in the English language with translation, if needed, in Bahasa Malaysia within 14 days. The oft-cited “amalan, tatacara dan prosedur Mahkamah” (practice, timeline related to procedures, and court procedures) refers.
Laidlaw can cite that the Constitution came first in the English which remains the valid version in law and that English, notwithstanding Article 152, remains the language of law in Malaysia.
English remains the language of the High Court of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak).
In law, any language can be used in the court, but all cause papers are in English in Borneo and in the superior courts in Malaya. Cause papers in the lower courts in Malaya are in Bahasa Malaysia although it’s not the national language. – New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He is not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.
The points expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.