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(LAW) Dedication

To my dearest parents:

The Late Dato’ Hj. Mohd Sheriff Puteh & Hajjah Wan Sepiah Wan Ibrahim For giving all the love, support and encouragement throughout the duration of my studies

To my beloved husband:

Muhammad Syahmi Mohd Karim For your love, sacrifices, support and tolerance given whilst you were also struggling with your Ph.D

To my dearest daughters:

Hanan Afiqah Muhammad Syahmi Hanan Insyirah Muhammad Syahmi For all the love and understanding given whilst I was completing my thesis. Indeed, they have made my life meaningful during my academic journey in Durham.



Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful for the guidance and blessing in realising my goal to achieve this success in my studies.

The process of accomplishing this thesis has gone through numerous challenges in which many parties have been involved directly or indirectly in giving assistance, support and encouragement. I wish to express my utmost gratitude to all of them for their willingness to assist me in the process of completing this thesis.

In researching this rather complicated area of law, I had the exceptional privilege of having Professor Michael Bohlander as my main supervisor. His wide interest and experience have been particularly helpful in tackling the problems I encountered during the course of this thesis writing. The encouragement he generously gave me at every stage of this work made the whole task extremely interesting. I am indebted to him for his source of motivation and continuous support. The amount of knowledge and experience that I gained is invaluable. Professor Ian Leigh as my second supervisor also deserves similar appreciation and gratitude for his help, guidance and encouragement. I am also indebted to him. I am also thankful to the staff of Durham Law School for their help.

It is also my pleasure to dedicate my special thanks and appreciation to my sponsors – International Islamic University Malaysia and the Government of Malaysia for giving all the financial support throughout the duration of my studies.

Most of all, my special gratitude to all my family members especially to my husband;

Muhammad Syahmi, my daughters; Hanan Afiqah and Hanan Insyirah, my mother;

Hajjah Wan Sepiah; my mother in law; Hajjah Pon and my sisters; Faizah and Mashitah. They have supported me with their endless love, moral support, prayers and encouragement. This work is especially dedicated to my late father; Dato’ Hj. Mohd Sheriff Puteh who passed away while I was in the midst of completing my thesis. My father had always been my source of strength and had never failed to inspire me in my academic pursuits. Last but not least, thanks to all my friends who in their different ways have all encouraged me to complete my studies. May Allah always give His blessings to them in this world and the hereafter. Ameen.

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I hereby declare that no portion of the work that appears in this study has been used in support of an application of another degree in qualification to this or any other university or institutions of learning

–  –  –

The copyright of this thesis rests with the author. No extract from it should be published without her prior written consent, and all information derived from it should be acknowledged

–  –  –

The issue relating to contempt of court has caught the attention of people from all walks of life in Malaysia, particularly, after the controversial incidents of the removal of Tun Salleh Abbas, the then Lord President, in 1988 and the dismissal of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in 1998. The judiciary is attacked and its independence is questioned. The lawyers are placed under the threat of contempt proceedings when they tried to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression and to exercise their duty to act for their clients without fear or favour. The Bar feels that the right to freedom of speech and expression is infringed. The Bar perceives that the contempt power was being misused by the judges.

The Malaysian law of contempt of court is derived from the English common law tradition and is characterised by substantial flexibility. This flexibility results in variable approaches and perceptions by judges that leave uncertainties in this area of law. Consequently, a draft of Contempt of Court Act 1999 has been proposed to the Malaysian government with the main intention of overcoming uncertainties in the law. Placing the comprehensive rules in a statute will allow easier access to and greater clarity of the law because all the rules and procedures would be found in one piece of legislation.

This thesis aims to state and explain the law and the practice of contempt of court in Malaysia. This study will examine the anomalies that derived from the substantial flexibility approaches by the judges in this area of law. Thorough examination and analysis would help identifying the problems and dilemma and the way that the draft Contempt of Court Act 1999 could provide remedies for the predicaments. To illuminate the understanding of the actual practical problem, this study incorporates in-depth interviews together with questionnaire surveys. A total of 15 in-depth interviews have been conducted among the Malaysian judicial officers, advocates and prosecutors. This is further complemented by postal questionnaires sent to these selected legal actors chosen at random in accordance with their seniority, aiming at eliciting their knowledge and opinion on the subject matter at hand. The combinations of theoretical discussion on contempt of court, together with the empirical study, have proved to yield a valuable insight into the re-evaluation of the Malaysian law and practice of contempt of court.

This research reveals that the uncertainties in the law of contempt of court in Malaysia were ‘caused’ by the inconsistencies in the application and approaches by the judges. The judges have unfettered discretion in determining contempt cases. The majority of the Malaysian legal actors support the idea of placing the law of contempt in a piece of legislation in order to overcome these arbitrariness and uncertainties.

They hold that to have credence, the law of contempt would have to be well-defined, as in the absence of any clear guidelines it would be unmerited to imprison anyone for contempt.

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Malaysia Achieva Technology Sdn Bhd v Lam Yen Ling & Ors [2009] 8 MLJ 625 Adong bin Kuwau v Kerajaan Negeri Johor [1997] 1 MLJ 418 Alor Janggus Soon Seng Trading Sdn Bhd & Ors v Sey Hoe Sdn Bhd & Ors [1995] 1 MLJ 241 Anchorage Mall v Irama Team (M) Sdn Bhd& Anor [2001] 2 MLJ 520 Anthony Ratos s/o Domingos v City Specialist Centre Sdn Bhd (Berniaga sebagai City Medical Centre) [1996] 3 CLJ 415 Arthur Lee Meng Kwang v Faber Merlin Malaysia Bhd & Ors [1986] 2 MLJ 193 Asean Security Paper Mills Sdn Bhd v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd [2008] 6 CLJ 1 Asia Pacific Parcel Tankers Pte Ltd v The Owners of the Ship or Vessel ‘Normar Splendour’ [1999] 6 MLJ 652 Attorney General, Malaysia v Manjeet Singh Dhillon [1991] 1 MLJ 167 Badan Peguam Negara v Kerajaan Malaysia [2009] 2 MLJ 161 Bok Chek Thou & Anor v Low Swee Boon & Anor [1998] 4 MLJ 342 Capital Insurance Bhd v B.S. Sidhu [1996] 3 MLJ 1 Chandra Sri Ram v Murray Hiebert [1997] 3 MLJ 240 (HC) Cheah Cheng Hoc v PP [1986] 1 MLJ 299 Che Minah bt Remeli v Pentadbir Tanah, Pejabat Tanah Besut, Terengganu & Ors [2008] MLJU 182 Chung Onn v Wee Tian Peng [1996] 5 MLJ 521 Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim v PP [2004] 4 CLJ 157 Dato’ Seri S Samy Vellu v Penerbitan Sahabat (M) Sdn Bhd & Ors [2005] 3 CLJ 440 Director-General of Inland Revenue v Kulim Rubber Plantations [1981] 1 MLJ 214 Dr. Leela Ratos & Ors v Anthony Ratos s/o Domingos Ratos & Ors [1997] 1 MLJ 704 Edmund Ming Kwan @ Kwaun Yee Ming, Edmund v Extra Excel (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd & Ors (Part 1) [2007] 7 MLJ 250 Fawziah Holdings Sdn Bhd v Metramac Corp. Sdn [2006] 1 MLJ 435 Folin & Brothers Sdn Bhd (in liquidation) v Wong Boon Sun & Ors and Another Appeal [2009] 5 MLJ 362 Foo Khoon Long v Foo Khoon Wong [2009] 9 MLJ 441 Government of State of Kelantan v Government of Federation of Malaya & Tunku Abdul Rahman [1963] 1 MLJ 355 Hong Leong Equipment Sdn Bhd v Liew Fook Chuan and Another Appeal [1996] 1 MLJ 481 Houng Hai Hong & Anor v MBf Holdings Bhd & Anor and 3 Other Appeals [1995] 4 CLJ 427 In Re HE Kingdon v SC Goho [1948] MLJ 17 In Re Tai Choi Yu [1999] 5 CLJ 201 Jagathesan v Linggi Plantations Ltd [1969] 2 MLJ 253 Jaginder Singh & Ors v The Attorney General [1983] 1 MLJ 71 Jamil bin Harun v Yang Kamsiah [1984] 2 WLR 668 Karam Singh v Public Prosecutor [1975] 1 MLJ 229 Kok Wah Kuan v Pengarah Penjara Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan [2004] 5 MLJ Koperasi Serbaguna Taiping Barat Bhd v Lim Joo Thong [1999] 6 MLJ 38 Lau Dak Kee v Public Prosecutor [1976] 2 MLJ 229 viii Lee Lim Huat v Yusuf Khan bin Ghow Khan & Anor [1997] 2 MLJ 472 Leong Siew Fung & Ors v Leong Shan Nam and Other Suits [1998] 4 MLJ 352 Leow Seng Huat v Low Mui Yein [1996] 5 MLJ 381 Lim Kit Siang v Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad [1987] 1 MLJ 383 Mah Siew Keong v Bayu Gamitan Sdn Bhd & Other Appeals [2002] 2 MLJ 107 Majlis Peguam Malaysia & Ors v Raja Segaran a/l S Krishnan [2002] 3 MLJ 155 Majlis Peguam Malaysia & Ors v Raja Segaran a/l S Krishnan [2005] 1 MLJ 12 Majlis Perbandaran Melaka v Yau Jiok Hua [2006] 5 MLJ 389 Malaysian Bar v Tan Sri Dato’ Abdul Hamid bin Omar [1989] 2 MLJ 281 Matthias Chang Wen Chieh v American Express (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd [2010] MLJU MBF Holdings Bhd & Anor v Houng Hai Kong & Ors [1993] 2 MLJ 516 Megat Najmuddin Bin Dato’ Seri (Dr) Megat Khas v Bank Bumiputra (M) Bhd [2002] 1 MLJ 385 Merdeka University Berhad v Government of Malaysia [1981] 1 CLJ 175 Messrs Hisham, Sobri & Kadir v Kedah Utara Development Sdn Bhd & Anor [1988] 2 MLJ 239 MGG Pillai v Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Youn [2002] 2 MLJ 573 Mohammad Ezam bin Mohd Noor v Ketua Polis Negara & Ors [2002] 4 CLJ 309 Monatech (M) Sdn Bhd v Jasa Keramat Sdn Bhd [2002] 4 MLJ 241 Murray Hiebert v Chandra Sri Ram [1999] 4 MLJ 321 (CA) Nepline Sdn Bhd v Jones Lang Wootton [1995] 1 CLJ 865 Nor anak Nyawai v Borneo Pulp Plantation [2001] 6 MLJ 241 Ong Cheng Neo v Yeap Cheah Neo [1872] 1 Ky. 326 Phang Chin Hock v Public Prosecutor [1980] 1 MLJ 70 Polygram Records Sdn Bhd v Phua Tai Eng [1986] 2 MLJ 87 PP v Abdul Samad b. Ahmad & Anor [1953] 1 MLJ 118 PP v Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim [1998] 4 MLJ 481 Public Prosecutor v Lee Ah Keh & Ors [1968] 1 MLJ 22 PP v Seeralan [1985] 2 MLJ 30 Public Prosecutor v Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim [2002] 2 MLJ 730 Public Prosecutor v SRN Palaniappan & Ors [1949] MLJ 246 Public Prosecutor v Straits Times (Malaya) Bhd [1971] 1 MLJ 69 Public Prosecutor v The Straits Times Press Ltd [1949] MLJ 81 Raja Mokhtar bin Raja Yaacob v Public Trustee, Malaysia [1970] 2 MLJ 151 Raja Segaran a/l S Krishnan v Bar Council Malaysia & Ors [2000] 1 MLJ 1 Re Abdul Aziz’s Application [1962] 1 MLJ 64 Re Kumaraendran, an Advocate and Solicitor [1975] 2 MLJ 45 Re Lee Chan Leong; Eddie Lee Kim Tak & Ors v Jurutera Konsultant (SEA) Sdn Bhd & Ors (No 3) [2001] 1 MLJ 371 Re Sin Poh Amalgamated Ltd & Ors [1954] MLJ 152 Re Tai Choi Yu [1999] 1 MLJ 416 Re Tanjung Puteri Johore State Election Petition [1988] 2 MLJ 111 Re Zainur Zakaria [1999] 2 MLJ 577 Sagong bin Tasi v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor [2002] 2 MLJ 591 Segar Restu (M) Sdn Bhd v Wong Kai Chuan & Anor [1993] 4 CLJ 177 Societe Jas Henessy & Co & Anor v Nguang Chan (M) Sdn Bhd [2005] 5 CLJ 515 Song Bok Yoong v Ho Kim Poui [1968] 1 MLJ 56 Tai Choi Yu v Ian Chin Hon Chong [2002] 2 CLJ 259 Tai Chai Yu v The Chief Registrar of the Federal Court [1998] 2 MLJ 474 ix Takang Timber Sdn Bhd v The Government of Sarawak & Anor [1998] 3 CLJ SUPP Tam Lye Chian v Seah Heng Lye [1998] MLJU 611 Tan Gin Seng v Chua Kian Hong [1999] 1 MLJ 29 Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock v Public Prosecutor (No. 1) [2007] 2 MLJ 101 Tay Seng Keng v Tay Ek Seng Co. Sdn Bhd [1978] 1 MLJ 126 Thiruchelvasegaram Manickavasegar v Mahadevi Nadchatiram [2003] 2 CLJ 752 Tiu Shi Kian & Anor v Red Rose Restaurant Sdn Bhd [1984] 2 MLJ 313 Tommy Thomas v Peguam Negara Malaysia & Others [2001] 3 CLJ 457 T.O. Thomas v Asia Fishing Industry Pte Ltd [1977] 1 MLJ 151.

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