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KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — A preventive detention order signed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, when he was the home minister, was quashed by the Shah Alam High Court today.
In a report by Malaysiakini, lawyer Danial Amir Hamzah said the decision was made because Muhyiddin had signed the order using his “glamour name”, Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, instead of his government gazetted MyKad name Mahiaddin Md Yasin.
“Under the Ministerial Functions Act 1969, the name stated in the gazette is Mahiaddin Md Yasin, the name in his MyKad.
“Today, the High Court ruled that any executive decision or action taken by the prime minister or minister must use the name in the gazette, namely the name in the MyKad and not the glamour name.
“The detention order was signed off with the name Muhyiddin rather than Mahiaddin. The court, therefore, allowed our habeas corpus application,” Danial was quoted as saying.
He said judicial commissioner Datuk Norsharidah Awang today allowed the habeas corpus application by Sabahan Awang Sari Lasikan, who appeared together with co-counsel Zafran Zafri Mohd Zaini.
Awang is now freed from detention.
Danial added that the High Court agreed with their submission that Muhyiddin should not have signed the detention order with his “Muhyiddin” name rather than his MyKad name of Mahiaddin.
“When the new government (Perikatan Nasional) took over in early March last year, there was still no Cabinet and Muhyiddin, besides being the prime minister, was also carrying out duties as then home minister.
“Among the duties he carried out was signing off on detention orders under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, which included signing the order against my client on March 9, 2020.
“We then went to the Shah Alam High Court to challenge the validity of the detention order as it was not signed according to Muhyiddin’s name as stated in the government gazette,” he said.
Danial said that today’s ruling would potentially open the floodgates for similar habeas corpus applications, adding that there were several other detainees under detention orders signed by Muhyiddin.
According to a copy of Awang’s legal team’s submission sighted by Malaysiakini, they contended the detention order is invalid because it was issued and signed under a name (Muhyiddin) that is not valid in law as specified by the Ministerial Functions Act and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act.
They submitted that despite the gazette stating the person tasked then with carrying out the task of home minister as Mahiaddin Md Yasin, the detention order however was signed by Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin.
Federal Counsel Muhamad Safuan Azhar acted for the two respondents in today’s matter, namely the deputy home minister and the Simpang Renggam Behavioral Rehabilitation Centre’s senior enforcer.