Attorney Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar al-Mahdzar says his complaint is simply to ask the court for clarification and guidance.
KUALA LUMPUR: An attorney who is appealing whether Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision not to declare an emergency is unconstitutional is demanding damages from a Malay daily newspaper and a university professor of RM5 million each for alleged defamation.
The law firm YC Wong, which has sent a request letter on behalf of Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar al-Mahdzar, also requested the immediate withdrawal of the news report entitled “Peguam saman kerajaan, Agong tidak isytihar darurat” on the Harian Metro website on October 30 .
In the letter sent to the daily newspaper, which falls under the stall of The New Straits Times Press Bhd last week, the law firm also said that after the report was reproduced and posted on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Harian Metro has been tightened.
The law firm said their client wants a withdrawal and an apology within seven days of the request letter.
They also want the publisher to pay RM5 million in damages for injuries to Syed Iskandar’s professional reputation for causing him considerable distress and embarrassment.
A similar letter was sent to Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia for allegedly defamation in an article entitled “Siapa Peguam Yang Saman Yang di-Pertuan Agong?” posted on his Facebook on October 30th.
The law firm said the alleged defamation intensified when the article was published on two news portals, MYKMU.NET and Suara.TV.
Kamarul had said that the appeal sought by Syed Iskandar affected the king’s constitutional positions.
In his original subpoena, Syed Iskandar asked two legal questions:
- Whether in a genuine construction of Articles 40 and 150 of the Federal Constitution, the King has absolute discretion not to declare an emergency despite the advice of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet, and
- Whether an amendment to Article 150 by adding paragraphs 8 and 9 violates the basic structure of the Constitution in relation to Article 4 paragraph 1.
The lawyer said he believed the legal questions asked were important to uphold the rule of law and protect the constitution.
In an affidavit in support of the action, Syed Iskandar said that by not accepting the advice of the prime minister or his cabinet, the king was not performing his function under Articles 40 and 150.
On October 23, Muhyiddin Yassin advised the king to issue an Article 150 distress announcement after the cabinet reached a special meeting on the matter.
Two days later, after a special meeting of the Malay rulers, the king decreed that an emergency proclamation was not required anywhere or in any part of the country.
Syed Iskandar told FMT today that his intention to go to court is merely to seek clarification and guidance from the court.
“I never sued the king. My original subpoena was intended to ask for explanations and other facilities that the court deems appropriate, ”he added.