Thursday, February 5, 2015

AG objects to Zaidi's judicial review bid

12:00PM Feb 5, 2015
By Hafiz Yatim

The Attorney-General's Chambers appearing for the Convening Authority and Court-Martial made a preliminary objection to former air force Zaidi Ahmad's judicial review application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

This, the AG submitted, renders the judicial review academic, following the court-martial's decision to dismiss Zaidi from his post.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsulbol Hassan appeared for the respondents while lawyers Mohd Hanipa Maidin and Azhana Kamaruddin appeared for Zaidi.

Bar Council's Gregory Das appeared as watching brief.

The submissions were made in the judge's chambers, where Shamsulbol submitted that following the dismissal, the judicial review application is an exercise in futility.

“The said decision has been overtaken by events following the court martial decision to dismiss him from his Majesty's service after finding him guilty on two charges,” he said.

Justice Asmabi Mohamad, who presided in today's hearing, will deliver her decision on the preliminary objection on Feb 16.

Hanipa told reporters if the preliminary objection is allowed, Zaidi's judicial review application would be dismissed.

Otherwise, he added, the judge would then hear the leave (permission) for the judicial review on that day.

Justice Asmabi will deliver her decision on the preliminary objection on Feb 16.

Zaidi, a former fighter jet pilot, was dismissed from the RMAF on Jan 27 following a court-martial.

He was found guilty on Jan 12 of making media statements without the permission of the Armed Forces Council on the Election Commission's use of indelible ink during the 13th general election.

Prayers sought

Zaidi's judicial review application had been filed in December 2014 to determine whether the proceedings and decision-making process of the court martial have been infected with bias.

A decision in favour of the judicial review would have caused the court martial to be dissolved.

He named Major Jeneral Azizool Ariff Abdul Ghani, who is the Convening Authority, and the court martial as respondents.

Zaidi, who was the No12 Squadron commanding officer based in Butterworth, filed the application following adverse comments against him allegedly made by the presiding officer in the court martial panel in the comment section of a news article in Bahasa Malaysia in Malaysiakini.

The former pilot wanted a declaration of the Martial Court's decision in ordering Zaidi to enter his defence to be declared null and void, following the biased comments made by the presiding officer Colonel Saadon Hasnan.

It was previously reported that the Court Martial had refused to declare a mistrial after the information was revealed to the panel.

The comments allegedly made by Saadon is “...stay in the village if you do not want to be a soldier” (duduk di kampung sahaja jika tak nak jadi tentera).

‘Court did not bring forward the hearing’

Hanipa told reporters today that despite filing a certificate of urgency along with a stay application last December, the court had refused to bring forward the case.

As a result, he added, the court should not accept the argument that this judicial review is academic as it refused to call the case earlier.

“Besides this, Zaidi has yet to receive an official notification from the convening authority of the dismissal.

“As there is no official letter, the matter is still left hanging,” said Hanipa, who is also a PAS central committee member, he said, adding hence, it is not academic as claimed.

Zaidi told reporters that he was informed of the dismissal by his superior on Jan 27, but has yet to receive an official letter stating that.

Hanipa who is also Sepang MP, said if this judicial review application fails, he will file another judicial review application to challenge his client's dismissal after getting the official letter from the convening authority.

“We have 90 days to do so upon receiving the official letter,” he said.

Das, the watching brief lawyer for the Bar, told the judge that under Section 122(2), the dismissal is not considered final until this is confirmed by the Convening Authority.

“Hence, the finding of guilt shall not be treated as a finding or sentence of a court martial, until it is confirmed,” he said

Zaidi, who has four children between the ages of four to 21, is self-employed, following his dismissal.
~ Malaysiakini

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