Malaysiakini News

Malacca court grants leave for redelineation challenge

Published:  |  Modified:

The High Court in Malacca today granted leave for a judicial review brought by seven Malacca voters against the new electoral boundaries that were gazetted last month.

The applicants' lawyer Lim Wei Jiet said Justice Siti Khadijah Hassan Badjenid ruled that there was prima facie evidence showing malapportionment which contravened the Federal Constitution.

Without deliberating on the substantial merit of the case, she said the court merely looked at the affidavit in support of the applicants to make the decision.

"The applicants have shown there was prima facie (evidence) that they are affected as voters by the Election Commission's (new boundary) report and the (Gazette) order.

"The application by these voters are not trivial or deliberately done to trouble (the respondents)," she added.

The court, however, did not grant the applicants a stay on the using of the new electoral map in the upcoming elections, Lim told Malaysiakini.

The court then fixed May 28 for hearing.

The seven voters in the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat  – Chan Tsu Chong, Neo Lih Xin, Azura Talib, Lim Kah Seng, Norhizam Hassan Baktee, Amir Khairudin and Amran Atan – had challenged the EC on April 7 over the final redelineation report that was tabled and passed in Parliament on March 28.

They named caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and the commission as respondents.

They are seeking to declare the gazetted electoral boundaries as illegal as they contravene Article 113 and the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The new electoral boundaries were passed as law on March 28 and will be in force for the coming general election on May 9.

Critics accuse the government of malapportionment and gerrymandering and say the new boundaries favour the ruling coalition.

The EC denies the charges and says that the redelineation exercise was done fairly and based on established principles.

Successive legal challenges mounted by the opposition over the past year in a bid to prevent the redelineation exercise from proceeding have failed in several states.

The other counsel who acted for the applicants were Ng Kong Peng, Kee Tong Kiat and Caroline Chin, while senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh, Alice Loke, Azizan Md Arshad and Nik Azrin represented the government.

Besides seeking to quash a government gazette order on the new electoral boundaries, the voters also sought to declare the final EC report tabled in Parliament last month as null and void.

On April 4, 2017, the group had challenged the second stage of the redelineation exercise and sought the court to declare the reports as invalid and unconstitutional.

High Court in Malacca had granted them leave for the judicial review, which was then set aside by the Court of Appeal, and later upheld by Federal Court in February this year. 

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