Malaysiakini NEWS

Court sets Monday to decide on Semenyih voter's suit against EC

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

SEMENYIH POLLS | The Shah Alam High Court will make a decision on Monday in the case of an originating summons filed by a voter to stop the Election Commission from going ahead with the Semenyih by-election on March 2.

Judge SM Komathy set the date after hearing the arguments of the two sides in chambers.

The voter, Sabariah Mohd Shariff, 58, had named the EC, chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun and the federal government as defendants.

Sabariah was represented by counsel Shaharudin Ali and Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, while all defendants were represented by senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad and Amarjeet Singh.

Shaharudin told reporters outside the court that his client stood by her insistence that the EC did not exist on Jan 18 when the date for the by-election was set, because it was a “one-man show,” with only the chairperson remaining after the deputy chairperson and five members resigned on Jan 1.

He said that in India, the constitution allowed one person to head and be a member of the election commission but in Malaysia, it is stipulated that the EC must have seven members.

He also cited Article 114(2) of the Federal Constitution, which states that in appointing members of the EC, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall have regard to the importance of securing a commission which enjoys public confidence.

Shaharudin said the defendants argued that there was no provision for an EC quorum for a meeting and that it would suffice for just one person to discharge the duty.

In her originating summons, Sabariah is seeking a declaration that the EC does not exist and had become illegal and/or unconstitutional after Jan 1 in accordance with Article 114(1).

She is also seeking a declaration that the EC meeting on Jan 18 chaired by Azhar himself without the deputy chairperson and the five members was null and void, and contrary to Article 114(1) and all the decisions made at the meeting were also null and void and could not be executed by Azhar.

Sabariah is also seeking an injunction to restrain Azhar from holding meetings and/or proceeding with, executing, carrying out any act of conducting or organising and/or implementing the Semenyih by-election until all the members of the EC have been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

The six former EC members are Othman Mahmood (deputy chairperson), Yusop Mansor, Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Sulaiman Narawi, K Bala Singam and Leo Chong Cheong.

Five of the members resigned on Oct 18, 2018, and one on Nov 27, 2018, and all their resignations took effect on Jan 1, 2019.

On Jan 18, Azhar announced that the Semenyih by-election would be held on March 2, and that the nomination was on Feb 16 and early voting on Feb 26.

On Feb 14, chief secretary to the government Ismail Bakar announced the appointment of five new members of the EC, namely Azmi Sharom (deputy chairperson), Ramlan Ibrahim, Chin Phaik Yoong, Faisal S Hazis and Zoe Randhawa.

- Bernama

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