Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin today dismissed claims that the cabinet has decided to appeal the unconstitutionality of Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA).
Khaled said in a statement this evening the matter would be referred to the Attorney-General's Chambers.
Earlier today, Chinese language newspaper websites, quoting cabinet sources today, said the decision was made because the Court of Appeal decision was deemed to have “gone against the spirit of separation of powers”.
“The decision was judged a personal interpretation of the law. If (the judgment) is made a precedent, then it will affect cases in the future, so the cabinet opines that (the government) needs to appeal,” a news report says.
This was corraborated by Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, who on micro-blogging site Twitter said: “China Press reported that cabinet has decided to appeal the CoA decision on UKM4. I’ve heard the same from sources.”
Lawyer:Keep in mind legal reality
Meanwhile, in an immediate reaction Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, the lawyer representing the four former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's students, said it is the government's right to appeal.
"It is also a question of constitutional importance on which the Federal Court should declare its views. I trust the government will keep in mind the legal reality that in Malaysia, it is the Federal Constitution, and not the Parliament, that is supreme.
"Though Parliament can make laws to restrict free expression, those laws must be reasonable and proportionate. How the government intends to argue that the sub-section (15 (5) (a) of the UUCA) is reasonable will be of great interests to Malaysians," he told Malaysiakini.
Article 4 of the Federal Constitution clearly states that the constitution is the supreme law of the federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day that is inconsistent with the constitution shall, to the extent of inconsistency, be void.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 majority landmark decision declared Section 15 (5) (a) which bars university students from being involved in politics unconstitutional and as such, null and void.
The four UKM students are expected to call a press conference later today.
AUKU: Kabinet belum buat keputusan, rujuk pada AG
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Manjit Bhatia - I'm not surprised at the Malaysian cabinet's stupidity. This is outright bodoh-ism at its best. I've seen quite a few stupid cabinet ministers but Malaysia's, collectively, can claim first prize hands down. It's not even ignorance that bedevils these morons but pure and unadulterated stupidity in not understanding what the Court of Appeal's decision has in fact delivered. It can't make 'separation of powers' any clearer than that. Sarwar is right: Let's see how this dumb 'government' argues its case of reasonable-ness of Section 15(5), and whether it puts itself above the constitution. More, Section 15(5)'s hypocrisy is that, whilst the regime wouldn't allow students to side with Opposition parties other than the ruling parties in Malaysia, it will if they support murderous and terrorist political parties like Hamas or those in Iran or Syria, whom the regime never criticises or condemns for their inherent barbarism.
RR - The judgment delivered by the Appeal Court was based on sound and fundamental jurisprudence though the single dissenting judgement was shallow toeing the line of the government. It is basic that the the Constitution is supreme to parliament. The fact that the Cabinet is appealing means the decision will most likely be overturned at the Federal Court. Hope the Federal Court judges will uphold the fine judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal by reiterating that the Constitution cannot be overrun by the parliament.
Anonymous - NO VOICE: Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Future belongs to the young. The present government and BN in the past want to continue to produce unthnking, fearful, brainless robotic students in our universities. The young cannot be too smart, critical, fearless, too idealistic, .... but only believe what the government feed them. WAKE UP LAH, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS and YOUNGTERS!
Brahman - If the decision taken by the cabinet is true, the Rakyat should not surprise if the Court of Appeal decision is reversed. This has been a trend since the removal of Tun Salleh Abbas, the impartiality of the courts have been compromise, once when the court have to preside on Government or UMNO matters, policy etc the lower courts are allowed to make decision not in favor to the Government or UMNO but in the latter stages on appeal to the Court of Appeal or even the Supreme Court the decision is reverse thus putting an end to the case in favor of the Government or UMNO. Malaysia "Shiok" sementara. So don't be too surprise if the Appeal has been reverse.
1M - I wonder whether this is going to be the same as what happened to the Perak case, where the court first ruled that PR was the legitimate state government, then a 180 degree twist by pro-UMNO's intervention. Whether UMNO win or lose in this appeal, they have lost people's support. Malaysian citizen must be awaken to put a stop to all these by giving UMNO the boot through GE13.