The shield of parliamentary privileges in judicial review

IT was reported that Nenggiri assemblyman Mohd Azizi Abu Naim said he would file a judicial review against Kelantan Speaker Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah regarding the decision to vacate the seat he held.  

In most countries, there is a standing that any decisions taken within the walls of parliament cannot be inquired into courts of law.

In Malaysia, parliamentary privilege protects the internal affairs of parliament from judicial review. The law governing this is the Federal Constitution.

A judicial review filed under Order 53 of the Rules of Court 2012 (Revised 2022) has no merits to the proceeding in reviewing its two-step threshold as the legality of it will be hampered by the privileges enjoyed by ministers, and the same is extended to the speaker.

Article 63 of the constitution states that courts of law shall not question the validity of any proceedings in either House of parliament. Similar wordings are also found under Article 72 of the constitution, shielding the legislative assembly.

In light of those constitutional provisions, it is clear that the matters arising from proceedings are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the parliament/state assembly. In the case of The Speaker of Dewan Undangan Negeri of Sarawak Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar v Ting Tiong Choon & Ors [2020] MLJU 172, the Federal Court once again reiterates the judicial standing that the decision taken by the House shall be final, as long as the Dewan had acted within the limits of its power.

The courts are barred from questioning the validity of the decision taken by the Dewan when the proceedings were the movement of the ministerial motion that came within the Dewan’s business.

From the above, it is noticeable that the court’s efforts to ensure the separation of powers between the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches are well-respected.

However, the extent of parliament’s privilege may not go well with the balancing of power, but it should play its role in all three for a better democracy. 

Nonetheless, it’s worth waiting and watching whether the courts shift to accepting judicial review shielded from parliamentarians’ exclusive rights. – June 23, 2024.

* Matilda George reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.