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Kuala Lumpur: 10 people challenge anti money-laundering act saying it is unconstitutional
Publicado el Oct 26, 2010

Ten people, including eight businessmen and three companies are challenging the constitutionality of Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act's (Amla) freeze order.

This is the first lawsuit where the applicants are disputing the constitutionality of Section 44 of Amla, said their lead counsel Michael K.T.Chow.

On Tuesday, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh allowed an application by Senior Federal Counsel Noor Hisham Ismail and SFC Nadia Hanim Mohd Tajuddin to file further written submissions for the leave application.

Justice Mohd Zawawi set Thursday for hearing of leave application after meeting the parties in his chambers.

Chow and lawyer Stanley Augustin acted for 13 applicants, who are involved in the business of trading of consumer goods between Malaysia and China.

In the judicial review application filed on Sept 6, the applicants named Bank Negara and Malaysian Goverment as respondents.

Chow said his clients were challenging Bank Negara’s decision to freeze their bank accounts.

"We are saying Section 44 of the Amla is unconstitutional because it allows freezing orders to be issued without notice to the persons.

"The order is not issued by the court but but investigating officers of Bank Negara," he told reporters.

When asked why his clients' bank accounts were frozen, Chow said the applicants were said to be guilty of using a money changer to send money abroad for business.

In the suit, businessman Khor Peng Chai, 57, who is also a director and shareholder of licensed money lender CTW Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd; his daughter Khor Yea Jye, 29, and wife Lee Moi Tiang, 52, are among the applicants.

CTW is also one of the three companies named as applicants.

The applicants are asking for a declaration that Section 44 of Amla is null and void because it violates the Federal Constitution’s provision that all persons are equal before the law.

They are applying to quash the decision of the Bank Negara in issuing the freeze notices dated July 28.

Among others, they are asking for costs and further relief deemed fit by the court.

In the grounds for leave application, the applicants stated that Bank Negara had acted in excess of its powers conferred upon it by the same Act.

They stated that Bank Negara had taken into account irrelevant considerations pertaining to the disproportionate adverse effects that the wholesale freezing of the accounts would have on each applicant and their employees.

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