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Leave granted to former soldier to challenge dismissal over his refusal to be vaccinated

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has granted leave for a former soldier who was dismissed after he refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to initiate a judicial review to challenge his dismissal.

Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid granted leave to Wan Ramli Wan Seman, 39, after the court was informed that the Attorney General, who represented the government and four other respondents, was not objecting to the leave application during an online proceeding here on Thursday (Oct 28).

The judge then fixed Nov 11 for case management.

Lawyer Yasmeen Soh Sha-Nisse represented Wan Ramli while Federal Counsel Liyana Muhammad Fuah appeared for the respondents.

In his leave application, Wan Ramli named Lt Col Sharull Hesham Md Yasin, Lt Mohamad Azammunir Mohd Ashri, Army chief Jeneral Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain, the Army, and the government, as respondents.

He is seeking a declaration that a discharge letter dated Aug 4 and his early discharge are null, void, and had no effect.

Wan Ramli is also seeking a writ of certiorari order to quash the letter of discharge, costs, and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

He claimed that on July 3, he received instructions from the company clerk at Camp Rasah’s clinic to take the Covid-19 vaccine, but he exercised his “‘constitutional right not to be vaccinated”.

Wan Ramli claimed he was subjected to interrogation on July 5, 6 and 9, where he was allegedly “put under tremendous pressure and was scolded” by some of the officers for refusing to be vaccinated.

He further claimed that on July 10, he was tried by Sharull and charged under four provisions of the Armed Forces Act 1972 for disobeying orders to be vaccinated, using threatening or insubordinate language to a superior officer, disobedience to a standing order, and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.

He also claimed that Sharull denied his request to be court-martialed, which he contended amounted to a serious violation of the rules of natural justice and allegedly deprived him of his livelihood which is safeguarded under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution.

Wan Ramli said he had a fundamental right not to be vaccinated and claimed that on Aug 3, he was told that his new discharge was effective from Aug 26 this year, when his normal discharge should have been on Jan 20, 2023.

The former soldier said his discharge was invalid on grounds that the respondents’ action is disproportionate in all circumstances of the case, oppressive, irrational, unreasonable, amounted to unlawful discrimination, and took into account irrelevant considerations.

Due to the dishonourable discharge, Wan Ramli said he had lost his right to a pension.

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