UPDATED 1.19PM | GE14 | PKR vice-president Tian Chua has been disqualified from contesting in the parliamentary seat of Batu for the 14th general election.
Returning officer Anwar Mohd Zain made the decision based on a March 2 Shah Alam High Court ruling which fined Tian Chua RM2,000 for insulting the modesty of a police officer.
The decision was at odds with the 13th general election when the returning officer then allowed Tian Chua to contest in Batu despite a separate conviction where Tian Chua was also fined RM2,000.
Speaking to journalists after being disqualified, Tian Chua decried Anwar's decision.
"This is an unfair interpretation because, in the last general election, the higher courts had decided that an RM2,000 fine does not lead to disqualification.
"But this time they (Election Commission) claimed that that ruling cannot be used for this general election," he said.
Tian Chua vowed to mount a legal challenge against the returning officer's decision.
He also condemned what he described as underhanded tactics to defeat Pakatan Harapan.
Unless Tian Chua can mount a successful legal challenge, Batu will see a four-cornered fight between Gerakan's Dominic Lau, PAS' Azhar Yahya and independent candidates P Prabakaran and SP Raja.
"They are using dirty tactics to thwart Harapan's victory," he said.
In the June 18, 2010 case, High Court judge Ghazali Cha had reduced Tian Chua's six-month jail term and RM3,000 fine to just RM2,000 over causing hurt to a police officer during a rally.
Article 48(1) of the Federal Constitution states that a person is disqualified as an MP or from contesting if he or she had been imprisoned for a term of not less than a year or fined not less than RM2,000.
Justice Ghazali had addressed the ambiguity concerning the provision in that whether the disqualification would begin at exactly RM2,000 or from RM2,001 and above.
The judge had at the time ruled that Tian Chua was not disqualified because his fine was RM2,000 fine and therefore no by-election was required.
Subsequently, Tian Chua was allowed to contest in the 2013 general election and won the Batu seat by a 13,284-vote majority.
In the case of both convictions in 2010 and March this year, the Dewan Rakyat also did not disqualify Tian Chua as an MP.
Meanwhile, lawyer N Surendran deemed Tian Chua's disqualification as unlawful and unconstitutional, and "liable to be set aside by the court".
He cited the 2010 written judgement in Tian Chua's case as well as the 1993 PP v Leong Yin Ming in the Supreme Court as setting the precedence in this matter.
"It is shocking and incomprehensible that the EC's officers were ignorant of the above legal authorities. The disqualification is unacceptable, and is a taint upon the electoral process in the Batu constituency," the Lawyers for Liberty advisor said in a statement today.
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