KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The High Court here today granted exiled schoolboy Jiegandran Panir Selvam the right to challenge a home ministry order which had placed him under detention without trial earlier this year.
Jiegandran, who turned 18 four days ago, was arrested last year on suspicion of having a stolen motorcycle.
He was later detained using the Restricted Residence Order under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), an archaic law used to combat communism in then-Malaya, from January to March this year.
The home ministry, represented by federal counsel Mohd Zain Ismail from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, did not object to the teen’s court bid, said Jiegandran’s lawyers.
The case has been fixed for mention on July 5, before judge Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh.
Jiegandran was not in court for his case, which was heard in chambers.
A group of some 10 lawyers were acting for the boy, including Syahredzan Johan, Daniel Albert, Yohendra Nadarajan and Richard Wee.
The fifth-former from Selangor has been exiled to neighbouring Negri Sembilan for two years under the Restricted Residence Order, issued by the home ministry resulting from his earlier detention under the Emergency law.
“He cannot leave the district of Linggi without the written consent of the police chief,” Yohendra told reporters outside the courtroom.
He added that Jiegrandran, who must also report to the police station every Monday for the next two years, has been put under curfew and was effectively house-bound from 8pm to 6am the next day.
“It’s a very draconian order against a child,” Wee cut in.
“As a minor, he has no capacity to sign the EO order given to him,” he added, referring to the document issued by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop for the ministry.
The lawyer explained that Parliament had passed the Child Act in 2001, protecting the rights of persons under 18 years old.
Wee also highlighted the United Nations’ 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an international treaty which Malaysia had signed and was committed to uphold.
Jiegandran and his father, M. Panir Selvam, 53, who is also named as an applicant in the court papers, want the High Court to lift the home ministry’s restrictive orders and allow him to return home to his family in Semenyih.
The deputy home minister, the Inspector-General of Police, the Negri Sembilan police chief and the federal government were named as respondents in the suit.