KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) today filed an objection to the application for judicial review by the Rumah Bonda Kuala Lumpur Welfare Organisation, known as ‘Rumah Bonda’, which challenged the action taken by the Federal Territory Social Welfare Department (JKM) to seal the house following allegations of abuse against a 13-year-old with Down Syndrome.

Senior Federal Counsel Nur Idayu Amir when contacted by reporters said the court had been informed that the objection was made because the applicant (Rumah Bonda) should have appealed to the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development within 30 days of the sealing notice being issued, according to Section 22 of the Care Centres Act 1993, instead of directly filing the judicial review.

“The applicant is not eligible to apply for a mandamus order because the application (for judicial review) does not meet Section 44 of the Specific Relief Act 1950,“ she said, adding that the court had set Nov 15 to decide on the judicial review application.

The hearing of the application for judicial review was held online today before High Court Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, with lawyer Asiah Abd Jalil representing the organisation.

Meanwhile, Asiah said she had informed the court that the applicant did not appeal to the minister under Section 22 of the Care Centres Act 1993, because there was a high probability of bias.

“The applicant is an organisation that has established and manages Rumah Bonda, so the applicant’s application has locus standi in court,“ he said.

On Aug 13, the organisation through its chairman Siti Bainun Ahd Razali filed an application for judicial review, naming the JKM Federal Territory director and the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development as the first and second respondents respectively.

Based on the application, Siti Bainun, among others, claimed that the sealing notice issued by the first respondent (JKM) on July 9 against Rumah Bonda, and the sealing of the premises on July 12 was influenced by community pressure, following media reports on allegations of child abuse which went viral on July 5.

Siti Bainun claimed that both respondents had acted hastily following pressure from the community to take stern action with regard to the abuse, when in reality, the teenager was neither related to nor was an occupant of the house.

Siti Bainun applied for a declaration order that Rumah Bonda was at all material time in the process of applying for registration with JKM with the knowledge of both respondents, therefore, the house was not an illegal shelter or care centre.

The applicant also applied for a mandamus order to direct both respondents to, among other things, immediately unseal the premises to enable the applicant to enter and access it to resume the remaining processes and procedures in the application for registration with JKM. — Bernama