Apex court rules appeal court can hear contempt proceedings

Free Malaysia Today

The Federal Court today ruled that the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear a contempt of court appeal by returning officer Amino Agos Suyud, although the matter arose from an election court. A five-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum said election judge Azmiah Omar was sitting as a High Court judge exercising her powers under Article 126 of the Federal Constitution. Others on the bench were Court of Appeal president Ahmad Maarop, Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court judge Ramly Ali. Malanjum also said Agos must be given the right of a two-tier appeal. The bench also granted Agos a stay of his three-month jail term pending the disposal of his appeal. The stay was given after lawyer Mohammad Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who is appearing for petitioner Dr Streram Sinnasamy, said he valued Agos' liberty. At the Court of Appeal, meanwhile, lawyer G Rajasingam who is appearing for Agos informed a three-member bench of the apex ruling. Rajasingam told reporters he would be writing to the election judge to obtain written grounds before filing the memorandum of appeal. "The Federal Court also indicated that the appeal must be expedited," he said. On Oct 10, Agos was found guilty of coaching a witness in a petition brought by Streram, the PKR candidate for the Rantau state assembly seat in Negeri Sembilan.