Transport Ministry given a month to decide on Melaka Gateway developer's appeal

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 24): The Transport Ministry and its minister Anthony Loke is given a month by the High Court here today to decide on the appeal by Melaka Gateway developer, KAJ Development Sdn Bhd, following the cancellation of its licence to develop the project.

KAJ Development's lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, said today he received a letter from the ministry yesterday informing that the ministry would need time to decide on the appeal as it had asked for six months to do so.

"Today we met Justice (Datuk) Nordin Hassan in his chambers where we indicated that we would like to have the decision made before Hari Raya which falls in June.

"Following that, the court agreed and fixed May 23 for the ministry and Loke to come back to court to inform a decision on the appeal by the company," Mohamed Haniff told theedgemarkets.com.

Today was fixed for case management for KAJ Development's judicial review application against the government, Loke and the Malacca Port Authority (MPA), which were named as respondents.

The judicial review application aims to obtain leave (permission) from the court to get a certiorari order to quash the cancellation.

Senior federal counsel Maisarah Jauhari appeared for Loke and the government while lawyer J Doshi appeared for MPA.

The Melaka Gateway is said to be an integrated deep-sea port project which had been given approval by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

It was reported last month that KAJ Development received a letter dated Oct 5 last year, informing the company that the "port operating licence for integrated deep-sea Melaka Gateway and cruise terminal jetty" had been cancelled.

The company appealed the decision via a letter to Loke on Nov 14, but has not received any reply.

Hence, it is seeking a review of Loke's decision as the previous BN government 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 said would bring tourists and develop the maritime industry and hence bring economic contribution to the country.

The project also has attracted the interests of three China-based companies and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

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

It is also seeking a declaration that Loke's decision 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 therefore null and void and is not enforceable.

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

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