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CASE OF THE WEEK

 

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Courts - Appeals - Appeal from High Court to Court of Appeal - Whether decision of High Court under s. 31(1) of the Medical Act 1971 ('the Act') final - Whether Court of Appeal could hear "all" appeals from High Court - Whether s. 31(2) of the Act and s. 68(1)(d) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 inconsistent with art. 121(1B) of the Federal Constitution

JURISDICTION: Court of Appeal - Appeal from High Court - Decision of High Court pursuant to s. 31(1) of the Medical Act 1971 ('the Act') - Whether decision of High Court final - Whether Court of Appeal could hear "all" appeals from High Court - Whether s. 31(2) of the Act and s. 68(1)(d) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 inconsistent with art. 121(1B) of the Federal Constitution

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION: Construction of statutes - Intention of Parliament - Section 31(2) of the Medical Act 1971 and s. 68(1)(d) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 - Whether federal laws - Whether clearly provided for finality in decision of High Court - Whether inconsistent with art. 121(1B) of the Federal Constitution

WORDS AND PHRASES: "jurisdiction" - Article 121(1B) of the Federal Constitution - Meaning of


DR KOAY CHENG BOON v. MAJLIS PERUBATAN MALAYSIA
FEDERAL COURT, PUTRAJAYA
ZULKEFLI MAKINUDIN CJ (MALAYA), MOHD GHAZALI YUSOFF FCJ, SURIYADI HALIM OMAR FCJ
[CIVIL APPEAL NO: 02-19-2011(W)]
5 JANUARY 2012

The appellant was found guilty of infamous conduct in a professional respect under s. 29(2)(b) of the Medical Act 1971 ('the 1971 Act') by the respondent ('MMC') premised upon an inquiry of a complaint made against the appellant for engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient who is the wife of the complainant. Consequently, the MMC ordered the appellant to be suspended from the Register under s. 30(ii) of the 1971 Act for a period of two years. The appellant's appeal to the High Court pursuant to s. 31(1) of the 1971 Act was dismissed on the grounds that there had been no breach of natural justice and there had been a proper appreciation of the evidence led during the enquiry. The appellant thus appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal in light of s. 31(2) of the 1971 Act which provides that the decision of the High Court in any appeal from the decision of the MMC in the exercise of its disciplinary jurisdiction shall be final, and therefore dismissed the appeal. The appellant appealed to the Federal Court. Leave was granted to the appellant to appeal on the following questions of law: (i) whether s. 31(2) of the 1971 Act and s. 68(1)(d) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 ('CJA') were inconsistent with art. 121(1B) of the Federal Constitution ('Constitution') and therefore void; and (ii) if the answer was in the affirmative, whether the Court of Appeal has unlimited jurisdiction to hear an appeal from a decision of the High Court made pursuant to s. 31(1) of the 1971 Act.

Held (dismissing the appeal with costs)

Per Zulkefli Makinudin CJ (Malaya):

(1) The word "jurisdiction" in art. 121(1B) of the Constitution, in a narrow and strict meaning, merely confers on the Court of Appeal the authority and power to hear and determine appeals. Further, art. 121(1B)(a) does not provide for the Court of Appeal to hear "all" or "any" appeals from the High Court. In the circumstances, the Court of Appeal's jurisdiction, in the present case, to hear appeals from the High Court should be exercised by reference to the CJA. It was clear from the reading of s. 4 of the CJA that the legal status accorded to the CJA is much higher than any other Act of Parliament. (paras 10-12)

(2) Based on a purposive interpretation, art. 121(1B) of the Constitution must be read together with all the relevant articles contained in the Constitution. Hence, art. 121(1B) read together with art. 74 and section 4 of the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution conferred power on the Legislature to enact laws to regulate and determine the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal. It would therefore follow that s. 68(1)(d) of the CJA cannot be unconstitutional as the said section was enacted by virtue of the powers conferred on the Legislature. (Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun & Anor, refd; Yong Teck Lee v. Harris Salleh & Anor, foll).
(see paras 13-14)

Per Mohd Ghazali Yusoff FCJ:

(1) A statute is the written will of the Legislature and it is the fundamental rule of interpretation of a statute that it should be expounded according to the intent of Parliament. The courts must use the literal rule where a clear meaning of a statute will allow it, ie, interpret the statute literally, according to its ordinary plain meaning. In the instant appeal, the 1971 Act makes it clear that it was the intention of the Parliament that there shall be no further appeal from the High Court. (paras 48 & 49)

(2) Further, s. 68(1)(d) of the CJA clearly provides that no appeal shall be brought to the Court of Appeal where, by any written law for the time being in force, the judgment or order of the High Court is expressly declared to be final. The CJA is a federal law which was intended by the Legislature to be read together with art. 121(1B) of the Constitution. The 1971 Act is also an Act of Parliament and hence falls within the meaning of "federal law" as provided for in art. 160(2) of the Constitution. Therefore, reading art. 121(1B) with s. 68 of the CJA and premised on the clear and unequivocal wordings of s. 31(2) of the 1971 Act, the decision of the High Court is final and not appealable. (Yong Teck Lee v. Harris Salleh & Anor, foll). (para 51)

Per Suriyadi Halim Omar FCJ:

(1) The words "jurisdiction to determine appeals from decisions of a High Court" are not substantive laws that lay down the unqualified primary appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal as suggested by the appellant, but mere illustrations. The words "that is to say" which come after the words "the Court of Appeal shall have the following jurisdiction", supplied the instances which may furnish guidance and clue as to its appeal jurisdiction. Hence, the curtailment of his rights to appeal to the Court of Appeal was not contrary to
art. 121(1B) as the illustration showed that the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal was subject to being conferred with jurisdiction under any federal law. Without conferment of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal is deprived of the jurisdiction to determine all appeals from the High Court under the 1971 Act; it can never be interpretatively right that an illustration can be construed as substantive law. (paras 64-66)

Bahasa Malaysia Translation Of Headnotes

Perayu telah didapati bersalah kerana berkelakuan buruk dari segi profesion di bawah s. 29(2)(b) Akta Perubatan 1971 ('Akta 1971') oleh responden ('MMC') berdasarkan kepada suatu siasatan terhadap aduan yang dibuat terhadap perayu kerana terlibat dalam hubungan seksual dengan seorang pesakit yang merupakan isteri kepada pengadu. Dengan itu MMC memerintahkan perayu digantung daripada daftar di bawah s. 30(ii) Akta 1971 bagi tempoh selama dua tahun. Rayuan perayu ke Mahkamah Tinggi di bawah s. 31(1) Akta 1971 ditolak atas alasan bahawa tidak ada pelanggaran keadilan semulajadi dan keterangan yang dikemukakan semasa siasatan telah dipertimbangkan dengan sewajarnya. Perayu dengan demikian merayu ke Mahkamah Rayuan. Mahkamah Rayuan memutuskan bahawa ia tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa untuk membicarakan rayuan tersebut berdasarkan s. 31(2) Akta 1971 yang memperuntukkan bahawa keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi dalam mana-mana rayuan daripada keputusan MMC dalam melaksanakan bidang kuasa tatatertib adalah muktamad, dan dengan itu menolak rayuan tersebut. Perayu merayu ke Mahkamah Persekutuan. Kebenaran diberikan kepada perayu untuk merayu atas persoalan undang-undang seperti berikut: (i) sama ada s. 31(2) Akta 1971 dan s. 68(1)(d) Akta Mahkamah Kehakiman 1964 ('AMK') tidak konsisten dengan perkara 121(1B) Perlembagaan Persekutuan ('Perlembagaan') dan dengan itu batal; dan (ii) jika jawapan adalah 'ya', sama ada Mahkamah Rayuan mempunyai bidang kuasa yang tidak terhad untuk mendengar rayuan daripada keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi yang dibuat di bawah s. 31(1) Akta 1971.

Diputuskan (menolak rayuan dengan kos)

Oleh Zulkefli Makinuddin HB (Malaya):

(1) Perkataan "bidang kuasa" dalam perkara 121(1B) Perlembagaan, dalam maksud terhad dan ketat, semata-mata memberikan kepada Mahkamah Rayuan autoriti dan kuasa untuk mendengar dan memutuskan rayuan-rayuan. Selanjutnya, perkara 121(1B) tidak memperuntukkan kepada Mahkamah Rayuan untuk mendengar "kesemua" atau "apa-apa" rayuan daripada Mahkamah Tinggi. Dalam keadaan tersebut, bidang kuasa Mahkamah Rayuan, di dalam kes ini, untuk mendengar rayuan daripada Mahkamah Tinggi perlu dilaksanakan dengan merujuk kepada AMK. Adalah jelas daripada membaca s. 4 AMK bahawa kedudukan undang-undang yang diberikan kepada AMK adalah lebih tinggi daripada mana-mana Akta Parlimen.

(2) Berdasarkan kepada tafsiran maksud, perkara 121(1B) Perlembagaan mesti dibaca bersama dengan kesemua perkara-perkara relevan yang terkandung di dalam Perlembagaan. Maka perkara 121(1B) dibaca bersama dengan perkara 74 dan perenggan 4 Jadual Kesembilan Perlembagaan memberikan kuasa kepada Perundangan untuk menggubal undang-undang untuk mengawal dan menentukan bidang kuasa Mahkamah Rayuan. Dengan demikian, s. 68(1)(d) AMK tidak boleh menjadi tidak berperlembagaan kerana seksyen tersebut digubal dengan kuasa yang diberikan kepada Badan Perundangan. (Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun & Anor, dirujuk.; Yong Teck Lee v. Harris Salleh & Anor, diikuti.)

Oleh Mohd Ghazali Yusoff HMP:

(1) Statut adalah kemahuan bertulis Badan Perundangan dan menjadi peraturan pentafsiran asas statut bahawa ia sepatutnya ditafsirkan menurut niat Parlimen. Mahkamah perlu menggunakan kaedah literal di mana maksud jelas statut membenarkannya iaitu mentafsir statut secara literal, mengikut maksud biasa dan jelas. Di dalam rayuan ini, Akta 1971 dengan jelas memperuntukkan bahawa adalah niat Parlimen bahawa tidak wajar ada rayuan lanjut daripada Mahkamah Tinggi.

(2) Selanjutnya, s. 68(1)(d) AMK jelas memperuntukkan bahawa tidak ada rayuan yang boleh dikemukakan ke Mahkamah Rayuan di mana, melalui apa-apa undang-undang bertulis pada masa ini yang berkuatkuasa, penghakiman atau perintah Mahkamah Tinggi adalah jelas diisytiharkan sebagai muktamad. AMK adalah undang-undang persekutuan yang diniatkan oleh Badan Perundangan untuk dibaca bersama dengan perkara 121(1B) Perlembagaan. Akta 1971 juga adalah Akta Parlimen dan dengan itu terangkum dalam maksud "undang-undang persekutuan" seperti yang diperuntukkan dalam perkara 160(2) Perlembagaan. Dengan itu, membaca perkara 121(1B) dengan s. 68 AMK dan berdasarkan kepada bahasa yang jelas dan tidak bercanggah dalam s. 31(2) Akta 1971, keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi adalah muktamad dan tidak boleh dirayu. (Yong Teck Lee v. Harris Salleh & Anor, diikuti).

Oleh Suriyadi Halim Omar HMP:

(1) Perkataan "bidang kuasa untuk menentukan rayuan daripada keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi" bukanlah undang-undang substantif yang menyenaraikan bidang kuasa asas tidak bersyarat Mahkamah Rayuan seperti yang disarankan oleh perayu, tetapi hanyalah ilustrasi semata-mata. Perkataan "iaitu" yang diletakkan selepas perkataan "Mahkamah Rayuan perlu mempunyai bidang kuasa berikut", memberikan contoh yang boleh memberikan panduan dan maklumat mengenai bidang kuasa rayuannya. Maka, pengurangan kuasa perayu untuk merayu ke Mahkamah Rayuan tidak bercanggah dengan perkara 121(1B) kerana ilustrasi tersebut menunjukkan bahawa bidang kuasa Mahkamah Rayuan tertakluk kepada pemberian bidang kuasa di bawah undang-undang persekutuan. Tanpa pemberian bidang kuasa, Mahkamah Rayuan tidak berbidang kuasa untuk memutuskan kesemua rayuan daripada Mahkamah Tinggi di bawah Akta 1971; adalah satu salah tafsiran jika dikatakan bahawa ilustrasi boleh ditafsirkan sebagai undang-undang substantif.

Case(s) referred to:

Badan Peguam Malaysia v. Kerajaan Malaysia [2009] 1 CLJ 833 FC (foll)

Bolton v. Law Society [1994] 1 WLR 512 (refd)

Brij Bhukan v. S.D.O AIR 1955 Patna 1(15) (refd)

Dason Gaban v. Zulkifle bin Majun and 21 Other Cases [1982] 1 LNS 41 FC (refd)

Dato Menteri Othman Baginda & Anor v. Dato Ombi Syed Alwi Syed Idrus [1981] 1 MLJ 29 (refd)

Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v. Nordin Salleh & Anor (1) [1992] 2 CLJ 1125; [1992] 1 CLJ (Rep) 72 (refd)

Edwards v. Attorney-General for Canada [1930] AC 124 (refd)

Gupta v. General Medical Council [2002] 1 WLR 1691 (refd)

Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun & Anor [2007] 5 CLJ 253 FC (refd)

Megat Najmuddin Dato' Seri (Dr) Megat Khas v. Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd [2002] 1 CLJ 645 FC (refd)

N Krishnaraju v. Authorised Officer Land Reforms AIR 1967 Mad 352 (refd)

PP v. Datuk Harun Haji Idris & Ors [1976] 1 LNS 180 HC (refd)

PP v. Ottavio Quattrocchi [2004] 3 CLJ 553 FC (refd)

Reyes v. Dental Board of South Australia (2002) 83 ASR 551 (refd)

Sivarasa Rasiah v. Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor [2010] 3 CLJ 507 FC (refd)

Sussex Peerage (1844) 11 Cl & Fin 85 (refd)

Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock v. PP [2007] 1 CLJ 565 FC (refd)

Yong Teck Lee v. Harris Mohd Salleh & Anor [2002] 3 CLJ 422 CA (foll)

Legislation referred to:

Courts of Judicature Act 1964, ss. 4, 50, 67, 68(1)(d)

Election Offences Act 1954, s. 36

Federal Constitution, arts. 4(1), 74, 121(1B)(a), (2)(a), 128, 160(2)

Interpretation Acts 1948 and 1967, ss. 3, 17A

Medical Act 1971, ss. 3(1), (2), 29(1), (2)(b), 30(ii), 31(1), (2)

Other source(s) referred to:

Stroud's Judicial Dictionary of Words and Phrases, 6th edn, p 2646

For the appellant - Tommy Thomas (S Ravindran with him); M/s Sreenevasan Young

For the respondent - Harjinder Kaur (Eric Chong with her); M/s Sharizat Rashid & Lee

[Appeal from Court of Appeal; Civil Appeal No: W-02-393-2009]

[Editor's note: For the Court of Appeal judgment, please see Dr Koay Cheng Boon v. The Malaysian Medical Council [2011] 4 CLJ 849 CA.]

Reported by S Barathi

 
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