The Court of Appeal Thursday expunged a legal opinion given by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in a case involving the acquisition of a developer’s land for a 26 acre mosque in Batang Berjuntai.
The legal opinion by the head of advisory at the AGC, Amirudin Abd Rahman, tendered in court yesterday, stated that a circular issued by the director-general of the land and mines department had no legal effect.
Developer United Allied Empire Sdn Bhd (UAE) had appealed the case against the Selangor land and mines director and five others after the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed its application for judicial review.
UAE’s counsel Rosli Dahlan had relied on a circular issued by the director-general of land and mines, upon the advice of the AGC, to show that UAE still had locus standi because a vesting order passing ownership to the state could only take effect upon entry of a memorial under Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act.
However, Naziah Mokhtar, the Selangor assistant state legal adviser produced a legal opinion dated Nov 23 by the head of advisory at the AGC, Amirudin Abd Rahman, that the circular, although made upon the advice of the AG, had no legal effect.
Rosli ridiculed this, saying the AGC was now denouncing its own advice to the director- general of lands and mines, just to win this case.
Rosli noted that the AGC was disregarding Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution which states that the AG is the legal adviser to the government and its advice must be followed.
He cited a judgement by Lord Denning that any attempt to influence a court in session by expressing opinion was subjudice and contempt and asked for the AGC’s opinion to be expunged.
The presiding chairman of the Court of Appeal, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, then expunged the AGC’s legal opinion.
UAE claimed, in its appeal, that the acquisition was in bad faith, citing that the declaration of acquisition was false and that various provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and the Federal Constitution had been violated.
It submitted that the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) and Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS) appeared to be involved in this “land grab” case to create a land bank for themselves.
Evidence was adduced to show there was no need for such a giant mosque as there were already 22 other mosques in that area, and that the prayer rows (saf) were empty most times.
Rosli asked the court not to allow the religious authorities to rob in the name of god.
The court reserved judgment to a later date.
MAIS and LZS were represented by Kamaazura Md Kamel and Siti Rahimah Khalil, respectively.
Rosli appeared with Bahari Yeow and Ho Ai Ting for UAE.
Source : FMT Reporters Online