The Attorney-General's Chambers and the Home Ministry have filed a notice of appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision to quash the ministry's decision not to give Malaysiakini a publishing permit.

This was confirmed today by the Civil Division head at the chambers, Azizah Nawawi.

malaysiakini frontpage"We have filed a notice of appeal on the KL High Court decision," Azizah said.

On Oct 1, the Appellate and Special Powers Division of the court presided by Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim quashed the home minister's decision rejecting the Malaysiakini application, describing the decision as "improper and irrational".

"The decision affects the right of the plaintiff to the right of freedom of expression, which also includes the right to apply for a permit. It is a fundamental liberty enshrined in the constitution," Justice Abang Iskandar ruled in his oral decision.

'Freedom of expression a natural right'

Justice Abang Iskandar in his decision noted that freedom of expression (through publication) is a natural right and is enshrined in Article 10 of the federal constitution.

The judge also recognised that Malaysiakini has won numerous local and international awards, and that this should not stop the authorities from giving the web portal a printing permit.

He also ordered the Home Ministry to pay RM5,000 in costs.
The Home Ministry and AG's Chambers had 30 days to file an appeal.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein indicated on Oct 3 that the ministry may appeal the decision after a further study by attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd applied for the permit in 2010, under Section 6(1)(a) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 to publish a daily named Malaysiakini.

In its application, Mkini Dotcom sought to publish 40,000 copies for distribution in the Klang Valley, to be sold at RM1 a copy, but the Home Ministry rejected the application in August 2010.