Sabahans fail to revive suit against Hadi for alleged sedition against Christians
Published on: Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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The Court of Appeal says it concurs with the High Court decision that the declarations sought by the two Sabahans against PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was unsustainable.
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by two Sabahans to revive a suit filed against PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang for an alleged attack on Christians.

Judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said a three-member bench concluded that the findings of the High Court last year were not manifestly wrong in law.

“We agree with the High Court that the two declarations sought (by the Sabahans) are wholly unsustainable and ought to be struck out,” said Vazeer, who sat with Supang Lian and Ghazali Cha.

However, the bench set aside the punitive costs of RM50,000 imposed on Maklin Masiau and Lawrence Jomiji Kinsil @ Maximilhian.

“There is merit to the appeal (on costs) as there is no basis to make the award,” he said.

The bench only ordered the two to pay Hadi RM10,000 in costs for the proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

On May 11 last year, High Court judge Akhtar Tahir allowed Hadi’s application to strike out the suit, holding that the two plaintiffs lacked locus standi to bring the action.

The duo had filed an originating summons in December 2020, seeking declarations that Hadi had committed sedition and was unfit to hold public office.

They claimed Hadi had made a seditious statement against Christians and Christian missionaries in the PAS publication Harakah on Jan 18, 2016, but had not been prosecuted.

In their affidavit to support the action, the Sabahans said Hadi’s statement was also published by FMT on the same day.

Vazeer, in his oral ruling, said the two were seeking declaratory orders based on secondary sources.

He said their complaint was that the attorney-general (AG), who is also the public prosecutor, had not charged Hadi.

Despite this, they said the prime minister has appointed Hadi as special envoy to the Middle East.

“Such declarations will not serve any purpose to the appellants (Sabahans). They were not compelling the AG to take action or asking the prime minister to remove Hadi from office,” he said.

Vazeer said based on submissions by Hadi’s lawyers, the suit had been commenced for collateral and political purposes.

“We agree with the High Court’s observation that there is no conceivable reason to ask for the declarations and the suit was an exercise in futility,” he said.

He also noted that it was the AG who had the discretion to institute a charge against Hadi.

“This civil court cannot usurp that constitutional power and declare beforehand that an offence had been committed,” he said.

He said it would undoubtedly open the floodgates for similar suits to be filed if such declarations were allowed.

Lawyers Yusfarizal Yussoff and Adam Luqman Amdan appeared for Hadi while counsel Gopal Sri Ram, R Kengadharan, Marcus Lee, How Li Nee represented Maklin and Lawrence

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