,The Malaysian Bar has mandated the Bar Council to take any and all steps that it deems necessary regarding the proclamation of emergency and the emergency ordinances, according to a resolution passed today by its members at their 75th AGM.The Malaysian Bar's newly-elected president AG Kalidas (above, left) later told reporters the steps could include instituting related legal proceedings on behalf of the body.“As for the motion which has been carried today, insofar as the proclamation is concerned and also the respective ordinances, the Malaysian Bar has mandated us to initiate suits relating to the matter or do what is necessary."So our stand is, so far as we are concerned, we will be taking this up in the right channel. Most probably, I mean very likely, there will be a suit initiated by the Malaysian Bar," he said during a press conference at the Wisma Badan Peguam in Kuala Lumpur.He said this when asked about the Malaysian Bar's stand on fears over the latest Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021, which came into force yesterday to curb the dissemination of "fake news" on Covid-19 and the emergency proclamation."I’m not (only) touching on the second ordinance, we will call it ordinance number two. Not touching on that alone, but basically, the Malaysian Bar believes in freedom of speech."Of course, there are boundaries to freedom of speech and we also believe in that. You cannot be alleging something which is not true," Kalidas said."We know the boundaries but we believe that people must be allowed to speak," he added.Amid concerns raised over the wide-ranging reach of the new 'fake news' ordinance, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah yesterday critics should not overstretch its provisions beyond the government's intended focus on Covid-19 and the emergency.According to the new ordinance that took effect on March 12, individuals found guilty of creating or publishing fake news on Covid-19 or the emergency proclamation could now face a fine of up to RM100,000 and imprisonment.Meanwhile, the Malaysian Bar also passed several other resolutions related to the motion, one being the Emergency Ordinance, including sections 14 and 15, being invalid and unconstitutional.Aside from initiating related legal proceedings, the Bar Council is also mandated to challenge the validity of the emergency proclamation, the Emergency Ordinance and any subsequent ordinances as well as to seek interim or permanent reliefs as deemed necessary.The Malaysian Bar also called upon the government to take necessary steps to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to summon a meeting of Parliament and for the emergency proclamation, Emergency Ordinance and other subsequent ordinances to be tabled in accordance with Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution.On Thursday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s proclamation and the ordinances enacted under the emergency law could not be challenged in any court of law.High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Mohd Shahid said this was provided for under Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution which among others states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision over the proclamation of emergency shall be final and conclusive and shall not be challenged or called into question in any court on any grounds.
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