09 December, 2009

Document is in English, so Anwar's suit struck out ?!!

According to a Malaysiakini report, the Court of Appeal has ruled that all court documents must be filed in the national language, as the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia is enshrined in the federal constitution.

Justice Abdul Malek Ishak, who on Oct 20 had dismissed Anwar Ibrahim's appeal in his defamation suit against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the courts are required to strictly enforce the procedure.

In his 31-page written judgment made available today, the judge said failure to satisfy the ruling would result in applications being dismissed.

Anwar's lawyers had filed the memorandum of appeal in English rather than use the normal procedure of filing it in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

His lawyers then sought an extension of time to file the necessary documents when Mahathir's application to strike out the suit is heard, but this too was rejected.

"We have seen the memorandum and it is obvious it is not drafted in Bahasa Malaysia," Abdul Malek said.

"The failure to do so amounts to blatant breach that would compel us to conclude no memorandum has been filed at all."

Anwar, he said, should have filed the memorandum of appeal in the national language as "no other language will be entertained".

"This is ordained in the laws of this country. The filing of the memorandum of appeal in the English language constituted an injustice to the respondent (Mahathir) and it was a pure and simple abuse of the process of the court," the judge said.

"Article 152 of the constitution, read together with the National Language Act, states all proceedings other than the giving of evidence shall be in the national language."

In January 2006, Anwar had sued Mahathir for RM100 million over allegedly defamatory remarks the latter had made at a Suhakam conference four months earlier.

In July 2007, the Kuala Lumpur High Court struck out suit without hearing the merits of the case, leading to an appeal being filed.

On OCt 20 this year, a three-member bench of the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal and ordered Anwar to pay costs.

Sitting with Abdul Malek were Justice Azhar Ma'ah and newly-elevated judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad.

( Source:"Anwar's suit struck out because document is in English" )

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