KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The federal government has applied to strike out a lawsuit by several activists seeking to compel it to deport Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
Lawyer S. Karthigesan said the application was only filed yesterday, ahead of the scheduled hearing today for the case brought by 17 civil activists.
“So, on that basis, the judge had actually taken into account all objections that has been made by the plaintiffs as well, and fixed this matter for hearing on September 21, whereby the application to strike out and also the plaintiffs’ case will be heard together,” Karthigesan told reporters at a press conference in the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex here.
Karthigesan said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has not filed its affidavit in reply to his clients’ application to deport Dr Zakir.
“The hearing of this entire application is going to be on a point of law and the AG’s chamber till today, have not filed any affidavit in reply to our application. So that is the present issue today.
“The judge having heard all the submissions put forward by the plaintiffs objecting to their (the government’s) last-minute filing of this application to strike out, has given a one week date for parties to actually come back and submit on the legality of their application,” he added.
When asked what point of law he would be raising, Karthigesan declined to say as he has not viewed the government’s reason for its application.
In a separate press conference today, Malay rights group Perkasa, an intervenor in the case, also said it was unaware of the government’s reason in seeking to dismiss the suit.
“In our submission, we raised two law issues. Firstly, Dr Zakir Naik was not named as the person in the originating summons. So we argued that by not naming the affected person by any order to be given by the court, the originating summons must be rejected because it did not name Dr Zakir Naik in the proceedings,” Perkasa’s lawyer Adnan Seman told reporters.
On another point, Adnan said that his team also raised the contents of Section 59A of the Immigration Act, which stipulates that the courts cannot interfere with the government’s decision to grant entry to anyone unless there is a violation of procedures on the matter.
The 17 activists filed the lawsuit on March 1 seeking a court declaration that Dr Zakir, a fugitive in India, is a threat to public peace in the country’s unity and multi-racial society.
They further sought an order to stop the medical doctor from entering the country or staying here, and for the police arrest Dr Zakir, if he was already staying in the country.
* Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that 19 civil activists filed the lawsuit against Zakir Naik instead of 17. It has since been corrected.