IPOH: The Election Court has set Jan 16 to decide on the preliminary objection petition filed by a voter to declare null and void the result of the 13th general election for the Lubok Merbau state seat.
Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli set the date after hearing the submissions from the respondents on Friday.
"I need some time to contemplate all submissions from the respondents and objection by the petitioner on the issue concerning senior federal counsel Alice Loke, who represents the second respondent, the Election Commission (EC)," he said.
In the proceedings, petitioner Mohd Ridzuan Asit, who was seated in the public gallery, stood up and raised the issue over Alice's notice of appointment, which he claimed to be non-compliant of Rule 34 of the Election Petition Rules 1054.
"Under Rule 34, Alice is not qualified to represent the EC because the notice of appointment was signed by another individual (senior federal counsel Suzana Atan), not Alice," Mohd Ridzuan said.
Senior federal counsel Norazmi Narawi, who represents the EC, said according to Article 114 of the Federal Constitution, the EC, appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, had the power to hold elections for parliamentary and state seats.
"Rule 34 is not applicable for federal counsel, but only for lawyers from legal firms, because federal counsel are subject to the Government Proceedings Act," he said.
Lubok Merbau assemblyman Datuk Siti Salmah Mat Jusak, who is the first respondent, was represented by lawyers Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad and Abu Bakar As Sidiq, while the EC, as the second respondent, was represented by Norazmi and Alice.
On Dec 23, the Federal Court granted the Opposition's appeal and remitted the Bagan Datoh and Lubok Merbau petitions to the Election Court to hear the merits of the cases.
In the 13th general election, Siti Salmah of Barisan Nasional defeated PAS' candidate Mohd Zainudin Mohd Yusof with a majority of 53 votes. - Bernama