The High Court heard today that the Election Commission (EC) did not use the latest electoral roll in its proposed delineation exercise, which is a violation of the guidelines provided in the Federal Constitution.
Lawyer Cyrus Das said the EC used the roll in the last quarter of 2015.
“Schedule 13 (3) of the Constitution states that the number of electors shall be taken to be as shown on the current electoral roll,” he said.
Das said the “current” electoral roll must mean the most recently published one before a delineation exercise is conducted.
The EC published an 18-page notice in major newspapers that it would carry out the proposed delineation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, beginning September last year.
Das said the EC should have included the roll of the first quarter (January-March) of 2016, which was gazetted in July.
“However, the EC in its reply to our argument stated that the latest roll could not be used because it had not been perfected,” he said in his submission.
The Selangor government is seeking to nullify the EC’s notice of delineation as it argues it violates the Constitution in drawing up its new electoral boundaries.
The state government also wants a declaration that the notice is lacking in details and will cause voters, local authorities or the state government to be unable to exercise their constitutional right to file representations.
It wants the court to quash the EC’s notice and an order to direct it to publish a fresh notice on the proposed exercise.
Lawyer Derek Fernandez, who is also representing the state government, said the EC also violated another guideline in the Constitution by causing inconvenience to local authorities and severing local ties among the people in carrying out the proposed exercise.
“The EC could have discussed this with the state and local governments but chose not to,” he added.
Fernandez said the EC did not want to comply with the intention of the Constitution and instead went on a frolic of its own.
“As a result, we have subjected their action to a judicial review before a court of law. What the EC has done is ultra vires the Constitution,” he added.
He said the EC, in its affidavit in reply to the state government’s concern, responded that all these issues could be addressed during the local inquiry with the affected voters.
“The EC also did not dispute a report (by Wong Chin Huat) that its action had undermined local ties and inconvenienced the people of different racial backgrounds,” he said.
He said should the proposal go through, its MPs and assemblymen would have to deal with different local governments due to the unreasonable redrawing of electoral boundaries.
He said the affected local authorities would have to replace road signage, public healthcare would need to be reviewed and it would have some financial impact on them.
“It looks like the EC is being made aware of its oversight in this court now. Nothing stops the EC from rectifying its mistakes should it be ruled that the current exercise is invalid,” he said.
Hearing before Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan was adjourned to Feb 7.
Source : V Anbalagan @ FMT Online