Melaka Gateway developer seeks review of minister’s decision to cancel licence

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 2): A developer for the Melaka Gateway integrated deep sea port project has filed a judicial review at the High Court to challenge Transport Minister Anthony Loke's decision to cancel the port operating licence granted to the firm by the previous federal government. 

KAJ Development Bhd has named the Melaka Port Authority, Loke and the Malaysian government as respondents in the judicial review application  filed on March 13, according to court documents sighted by theedgemarkets.com. 

The case came up before Justice Datuk Nordin Hassan today, where he directed the company's lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla to allow time for the minister and the Attorney General’s Chambers to respond. 

In its application, KAJ Development said it received a letter dated Oct 5 last year, saying the “port operating licence for integrated deep sea Melaka gateway and cruise terminal jetty” has been cancelled. 

The company had appealed the decision via a letter to Loke on Nov 14, but did not receive any response.

Following this, the company is seeking a review of Loke's decision as the previous Barisan Nasional government had initially approved the licence for the project in March 2018, shortly before the 14th general election. 

KAJ Development claims it had submitted its application since January 2014 to operate the Melaka Gateway project, which it says would bring tourists and develop the maritime industry and hence bring economic contribution to the country. 

The project has attracted the interests of three China-based companies. 

The company further claimed that it had attracted interest from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

For this reason, KAJ Development is seeking leave for the full merits of the application to be heard. 

It is also seeking a declaration that the decision by Loke to reject the appeal in cancelling the licence by not replying to the appeal letter by Dec 15, is not in accordance with the law or against his statutory duty, and hence the decision (to cancel the licence) is null and void and is not enforceable. 

KAJ Development is also seeking a certiorari order to quash the cancellation of the operating license. Alternatively, it is seeking a mandamus order to compel Loke to give a response to the appeal within 14 days of the court order. 

Furthermore, KAJ Development is seeking general damages to be assessed by the court, and special damages of RM139 billion. 

Justice Nordin today fixed April 24 for the possible hearing of leave. In judicial review applications, leave or permission had to be gained to ensure the application is not frivolous and vexatious.