Hornbill Unleashed

July 19, 2017

Appeals court rules High Court wrong to allow challenge against EC

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the High Court in Malacca was wrong to grant leave (permission) for seven residents to challenge the Election Commission’s delimitation exercise.

The three-member bench ruled that the appeal by the EC is allowed as they agreed with the submission of the EC represented by senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh.

“We make no order as to costs,” said Justice Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid.

The other judges were Justice Idrus Harun and Justice Hasnah Mohamed Hashim.

With this decision, the judges struck out the Malacca challenge.

However, outside court the residents represented by lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan indicated that they may consider filing an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

Asked whether the decision today would impact other ongoing challenges that have been filed, Ambiga said she will have to look at the written judgment first.

There are ongoing challenges put up by residents in Perak, Johor, and as reported yesterday in Kelantan.

Today’s case saw the court filled to the brim by opposition members from DAP, PKR, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. Among those present were Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Ayer Keroh assemblyperson Khoo Poay Tiong and also Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah

It was reported two months ago that Malacca High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera had granted leave to hear the merits of the seven residents challenge on the ongoing redelineation exercise.

Chan Tsu Chong, 29, Neo Lih Xin, 31, Azura Talib, 40, Lim Kah Seng, 31, Norhizam Hassan Baktee, 51, Amir Khairudin, 53, and Amran Atan, 47, were representing voters from the Kota Melaka and Bukit Katil parliamentary seats in challenging the EC’s proposed redelineation exercise which they deemed “unconstitutional”

More than 44,000 with no addresses

Amarjeet in his submissions said the delimitation exercise was non-justiciable as it does not amount to a decision made, and that the residents could raise the objection in the local inquiries.

He cited the case of the VK Lingam tape caper where the court ruled that the Royal Commission of Inquiry had only made a recommendation and that does not amount to a decision.

“In this case, the EC is only recommending to the voters but the ultimate final decision on it (delimitation) to be gazetted lies with the legislature. Such issues can be raised during local inquiries,” he said.

Amarjeet also said the court cannot allow a stay as it would be akin to preventing the EC from doing its constitutional duty.

Ambiga meanwhile told the court that for a leave application, there is a lower threshold for the merits to be heard and its complaint is that the delimitation exercise saw 44,000 voters with no known addresses.

“How can the EC do the delimitation when we have more than 44,000 voters with no known addresses.”

“If there are no addresses in the electoral role how do you do your delimitation. We are not questioning the electoral roll but how the EC derive the electoral roll in doing delimitation. Please explain to us,” she added.

Ambiga who is a former Bersih chairperson also pointed that under the Federal Constitution, the EC has a constitutional function that includes making sure the constituency is of equal number of electors or voters.

She said that if one were to look at Kota Laksamana and Taboh Naning state seats, Kota Laksamana has 3.6 times number of voters from Taboh Naning.

“This results in a dilution of the voters’ rights (due to the unequal number),” she said.

In view of this, Ambiga, who is now Hakam chairperson, said the EC had violated its constitutional duty, and asked where would the voters go to seek redress but to the court.

Source : Malaysiakini by  Hafiz Yatim



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