Thursday, December 2, 2021

AGC objects to NGOs’ bid to challenge deportation of Myanmar refugees

Senior federal counsel says the NGOs are not the parties affected by the decision to repatriate Myanmar nationals to their country of origin.

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The Attorney-General’s Chambers today raised an objection to the application for judicial review by two NGOs to challenge the government’s decision to repatriate 1,200 Myanmar refugees to their country of origin.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly said he informed the court that the objection was made on grounds that Section 59A of the Immigration Act 1959 stipulates that there shall be no judicial review of any act or decision except in regards to non-compliance with any procedural requirement of the law.

“The applicants (NGOs) are also not the parties affected by the decision of the respondent (the Malaysian government) to send the Myanmar nationals back to their country of origin,” he said when contacted by reporters.

Today’s online proceedings were set for the hearing of the application for judicial review before High Court judge Mariana Yahya, who was also joined by senior federal counsels S Narkunavathy and Mohd Sabri Othman. The lawyers representing the applicants meanwhile were Ambiga Sreenevasan and Gurdial Singh.

Hanir said the interim stay order, granted by the court to halt the deportation yesterday, had been extended pending the decision on March 9.

Yesterday, Mariana allowed the application by the two NGOs for an interim stay to stop the government from repatriating the Myanmar nationals to their country of origin.

The two NGOs, Asylum Access Bhd and Aimal Sdn Bhd, in the application on Monday named the Malaysian government, the immigration director-general and the home ministry as respondents.

The applicants said there were concerns that the group could be at risk if they were returned to military-ruled Myanmar.

In a statement yesterday, immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said a total of 1,086 illegal immigrants detained at immigration depots nationwide since last year had been deported from the navy base in Lumut.

The repatriation programme was implemented by his department in collaboration with the armed forces, especially the navy, the National Task Force and the Myanmar embassy.

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