Selangor state assembly speaker Teng Chang Khim has criticised the Shah Alam High Court for hearing Badrul Hisham Abdullah’s application to be declared the valid Port Klang state assemblyperson without his (Teng’s) counsel present.
Teng ) said his lawyer had sought a postponement on Feb 11 as he would engaged in a three-day trial in Johor Baru and would not be able to make it for the hearing originally slated for Feb 17.
Speaking at a press conference in Shah Alam after the judgment was delivered, Teng said the trial was postponed by only one day, to today, during the case management on Feb 16 and that this made no difference to his lawyer.
“I don’t see the rationale behind postponing it to the 18th. They might as well have heard it on the 17th… The court should not have proceeded with the hearing in the absence of my counsel, and the court knows about it.
“Justice hurried is justice buried,” said Teng, who was formerly a successful lawyer.
He described the judgment as “unjust” as it was heard the absence of his counsel. He said that he would file an appeal next week to set aside the decision.
‘Where are my rights?’
Teng, a lawyer himself, said the High Court’s decision was a breach of natural justice as he, being the defendant, was not given the opportunity to be heard and neither did the court give him the benefit of a 40-day period to respond to Badrul Hisham’s affidavit to which they are entitled.
He added that as a speaker, both the federal and state constitutions clearly state that his decisions are immune to court proceedings.
“The court has to take judicial notice that this case involves the constitution, the House and the speaker… this is not a case of any Tom, Dick or Harry.
“The world will laugh at us. What kind of judiciary do we have? If a speaker can face a predicament like this, imagine what a regular citizen will face.”
Teng said he has instructed his counsel to file an application to set aside the High Court judgement, which he said will “certainly” be done by next week.
Last month, Teng declared the Port Klang seat vacant after he found that Badrul Hisham had been absent without leave from the state assembly for six months consecutively.
Badrul Hisham however denied the charge, insisting that he was still the rightful elected representative of Port Klang and later filing a court challenge to declare Teng’s announcement as null and void.