Appeal filed over quashing of detention order signed with PM's 'glamour name'

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Appeal filed over quashing of detention order signed with PM's 'glamour name'
Appeal filed over quashing of detention order signed with PM's 'glamour name'

The issue of validity of a preventive detention order signed with the “glamour name” of then home minister Muhyiddin Yassin has gone to the Federal Court.

This followed on the heels of the appeal against the Shah Alam High Court ruling on April 2 which quashed the preventive detention order against Sabahan Awang Sari Lasikan.

On that day, High Court judicial commissioner Norsharidah Awang ruled that the order was defective as it was signed with the name Muhyiddin Yassin, rather than the then home minister’s government gazetted MyKad name, Mahiaddin Md Yasin. Muhyiddin is now prime minister.

Deputy public prosecutor Norazlin Mohamad Yusoff told Malaysiakini today that the appeal was filed on April 2 by the two appellants, namely the deputy home minister and the senior enforcer of the Behavioural Correctional Centre at Simpang Renggam, Johor. She acts for both appellants.

“Yes, we are appealing; the notice (of appeal) was filed on April 2,” she said.

She added that today was fixed for mention of the appeal before the Court of Appeal Registry, and that the court will later give a new mention date.

On April 2, Awang Sari’s then counsel Danial Amir Hamzah explained to Malaysiakini that the Shah Alam High Court ruled that any executive decision or action taken by the prime minister or minister must use the name in the gazette, namely the name in the MyKad and not a “glamour name”.

The lawyer explained that this is in line with the Ministerial Functions Act 1969, which laid out that the name stated in the gazette is Mahiaddin Md Yasin.

Danial explained that when Perikatan Nasional took over the government in early March last year, there was still no cabinet and Muhyiddin, besides being the prime minister, was also carrying out his duty as then home minister.

The lawyer had said that among the duties Muhyiddin carried out was signing off on detention orders under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, which included signing the order against Awang Sari on March 9, 2020.

According to a copy of Awang’s then legal team's submission before the High Court, they contended the detention order is invalid because it was issued and signed under a name (Muhyiddin) that is not valid in law as specified by the Ministerial Functions Act and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act.

They submitted that despite the gazette stating the person tasked then with carrying out the task of home minister as Mahiaddin Md Yasin, the detention order, however, was signed by Muhyiddin Yassin.

Danial only acted for Awang Sari for the successful habeas corpus application before the Shah Alam High Court. The lawyer is not acting for the Sabahan in the present appeal before the Federal Court.

Awang Sari was detained under the order signed by Muhyiddin on March 10, last year. After the High Court ruling on April 2, the general worker was freed from detention.

It was reported that on June 3 via an internal memo from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), civil servants were directed to use Muhyiddin’s legal name Mahiaddin Md Yasin in government documents.

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