Crime & Courts

High Court grants leave for Bersatu to challenge freezing of account by MACC

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (Bersatu) application to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) decision to freeze its bank accounts for investigation purposes.

Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid today also allowed Bersatu's president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's leave application to challenge the travel ban imposed against him recently.

In his judgment, Ahmad Kamal said Bersatu had satisfied the legal requirement for the court to hear the application.

"This application is not frivolous and vexatious and is amenable to the review.

"The travel ban also has an element of public interest which the court needs to look into the matter.

"Muhyiddin is a former prime minister and has a certain standing in the country," he said.

The application was filed by Datuk Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya and Muhyiddin on behalf of the political party through Messrs Chetan Jethwani & Co. in March this year.

Naming MACC's chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki and 19 others as the first to 20th respondents, they claimed that the decision to freeze its bank accounts was done in bad faith.

They also claimed that the commission had abused its powers by conducting selective political prosecution against the leadership of Bersatu, Perikatan Nasional (PN) or Muhyiddin.

They sought a declaration from the court against the MACC, that the commission should not follow the directives of the leaders of the ruling party who are in the government or follow the directives of the prime minister and/or deputy prime minister by enlisting MACC officers to initiate investigation against Bersatu, causing the issuance of an alleged wrongful freezing order.

According to the court document, Muhyiddin was also seeking an interim order to allow him to move freely and make all trips abroad without restrictions.

According to the application, immigration had recently imposed a travel ban on Muhyiddin "illegally and without any reasonable grounds" and without being served with any formal notice.

It claimed the travel ban was imposed because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was worried that Muhyiddin would appear at an international forum talking about political changes that would touch on developments in Malaysia.

The Pagoh member of parliament claimed that there was an effort to accuse or link him or Bersatu with corruption and abuse of power.

Thus, Muhyiddin is also seeking another certiorari order to quash the travel ban on him.

The party also claimed that the MACC has detained and charged its members and third parties to threaten them and influence them to associate Muhyiddin or Bersatu with fabricated offences.

Apart from that, Bersatu is also seeking an order of certiorari to quash the freezing orders issued to the party under Section 44(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 to its bank accounts and to revoke it according to the court document.

The Bersatu leader also wants the MACC to unfreeze a sum of RM4.354 million for the expenses, operations and management of the party, and a court order for a mandamus for the MACC officers to abide by the purpose and spirit of the law in investigative procedures and processes of MACC in a fair and just manner.

Further, he is seeking a declaration that as a validly registered political party, Bersatu has rights that are protected under the Federal Constitution and that its fundamental rights should not be infringed wrongfully for collateral purposes.

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