PUTRAJAYA, Oct 10 (Bernama) -- The appellate court here today ruled that Sungai Siput Member of Parliament Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj cannot challenge the decision of government agencies in rejecting his application for funds from the Special Constituency Allocation for various projects in his constituency.
A three-man panel led by Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing held that the issues raised by Jeyakumar in his leave application for judicial review including the lack of transparency and inconsistencies of allocation, were legally unsustainable and not judicially reviewable.
He said this was because the issues raised involved policy considerations and management prerogative where the courts do not possess the knowledge on such matters which underlie the decisions based on the evaluation of the director-general of the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister's Department and/or Perak Development Office director.
The panel, also comprising Justices Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail and Anantham Kasinather, unanimously allowed the appeal by the director-general (DG) of the Implementation Coordination Unit of the PM's Department, Perak Development Office director and the government to set aside the High Court's decision to grant leave to Dr Jeyakumar to initiate judicial review to challenge the decision of the government agencies.
Justice Low's 21-page judgment was read out in open court by deputy registrar of the appellate court, Kanageswari Nalliah.
Low said High Court judge Datuk Aziah Ali (now Court of Appeal judge) erred when she granted leave for judicial review to Dr Jeyakumar last Feb 25.
He said disbursement of allocation was entrusted to the DG and/or director who would exercise his discretion to consider each application by undergoing a detailed and comprehensive evaluation process according to the guidelines.
He said there was not an iota of law stating that the DG and/or director must approve all applications for allocations, adding that Dr Jeyakumar failed to establish that there was a legal or statutory duty by the DG and/or director to approve his application for allocation.
"These applications can only be decided by the DG and/or director in line with policy considerations and management prerogative. The factual background did show that the appellants (DG and/or director) had approved Dr Jeyakumar's application amounting to RM1.72 million, while other applications are being given consideration," he said.
Low said unlike the executive, the judiciary was not armed with all the information relevant to such matters.
"The director has given practical suggestions to Dr Jeyakumar to channel his applications to the relevant government agencies," he said.
Dr Jeyakumar filed the legal action after his application to the Perak Development Office director for funds to be used as contributions to SMJK Shin Chung, SJK Methodist and Nurul Ihsan Orphanage, as well as funds for small projects to benefit Orang Asli villages, was rejected via a letter by the director on Oct 12, last year.
He sought, among others, a declaration that the Special Constituency Allocation must be provided to all MPs equally regardless of political affiliation, in accordance with Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
The Parti Sosialis Malaysia official also sought a mandamus order to compel the appellants to explain their authority in disbursing the funds from the Special Constituency Allocation at their discretion and to specify the procedure for allocation of funding since 2008.
Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, S. Narkunavathy and Shamsul Bolhassan represented the appellants and lawyer Datuk S.Ambiga appeared for Dr Jeyakumar.