Constitution needs amendments to allow courts to view Emergency laws, says former senior judge

R. Loheswar
·2-min read
Datuk Seri Hishamudin Yunus said the current Emergency proclamation has not curtailed the judicial system, but suggested that judges are handicapped from scrutinising the Emergency Ordinance and the powers it grants the executive arm of government. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Hishamudin Yunus said the current Emergency proclamation has not curtailed the judicial system, but suggested that judges are handicapped from scrutinising the Emergency Ordinance and the powers it grants the executive arm of government. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 ― A former Court of Appeal judge today suggested amendments to the Federal Constitution that will empower the judiciary and provide safeguards against possible abuses by those in authority during an Emergency.

Datuk Seri Hishamudin Yunus said the current Emergency proclamation has not curtailed the judicial system, but suggested that judges are handicapped from scrutinising the Emergency Ordinance and the powers it grants the executive arm of government.

“The court of law must be allowed to view any proclamations of Emergency or promulgation of Emergency Ordinance, or else the executive powers will have a blank cheque to operate without limitations and it could lead to an unconstitutional government,” he said in a webinar about the Emergency Ordinance 2021, constitutional supremacy and Parliament organised by the Institute for Political Reform and Democracy aired over Facebook tonight.

“That’s why we need judicial activism. Our judiciary has shown to be more pro judicial activism lately but if we look at clause 8 of Article 150 of the Constitution, the powers of the court can be taken away.

“So maybe an argument can be made that clause 8 is unconstitutional and ineffective in precluding the courts from confirming the validity of an Emergency,” Hishamudin said.

He urged the MPs to seriously consider amending the Constitution “to bring back the safeguards we had after independence”.

Hishamudin also said judges must not abandon their duty to be the guardians of the Constitution.

However, he also said judges were unable to do anything until someone files a complaint to the courts.

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