KUALA LUMPUR: Oversight of the Election Commission’s redelineation exercise was the exclusive duty of Parliament, not the judiciary, ruled the High Court which dismissed the Selangor government’s judicial review.
High Court Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan said any intervention by the judiciary would overstep the boundary of separation of powers.
The judge cited prior Court of Appeal decisions which found the EC’s recommendations on a redelineation exercise, which still had to be passed by Parliament, were not legally binding and thus did not adversely affect the state government’s legal rights.
Justice Azizul said the state government’s claim that electoral roll was flawed as it did not have the addresses of 136,272 voters did not hold water.
“It is likely on the balance of probabilities that the addresses were available to the Commission when the locality codes were assigned,” he said.
He disagreed with the state government’s claim that there was insufficient information about the exercise, which stopped voters from making meaningful representation against it.
He ruled that though the EC fell short of Australia and the United Kingdom’s standards for transparency, what qualified as adequate information was a far lower standard to adhere to, which had been met. “For these reasons, I dismiss the entire application with no order as to cost,” he said.
A stay was later granted pending appeal by the state government.
The courtroom was packed, with state assemblymen and politicians including Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and PKR’s Batu MP Tian Chua.
Senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh acted for the EC, while lawyer Datuk S. Ambiga represented the state government.
The Selangor government had filed the judicial review on Oct 19 last year, naming the EC, its chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah and secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh as respondents.
It wanted the court to quash the EC’s notice and an order to direct it to publish a fresh notice on the proposed exercise. The state government also wanted a declaration that the notice was lacking in details, leading to voters, local authorities or the state government being unable to exercise their constitutional right to file representations.
The challenge was based on claims that the EC acted unconstitutionally in the redelineation exercise by using a defective electoral roll.
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