KLANG: The findings of the tribunal into allegations of misconduct committed by six former Election Commission (EC) members in the run-up to the 14th General Election will only be academic as the persons in question have quit, a tribunal hearing was told.
Counsel M. Puravalen, one of three officials assisting the tribunal, said at the onset of the tribunal hearing yesterday: “As an officer of the court, I am duty bound to inform that this is the legal position of Malaysian law and common law.”
The other two assisting the tribunal are Lim Wei Jiet, also from the Malaysian Bar, and federal counsel M. Kogilambigai from the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The five-man bench presiding over the tribunal is chaired by retired Federal Court judge Tan Sri Steve Shim.
The other four are Tan Sri Zaleha Zahari, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham, all retired Federal Court judges.
Shim said he noted that it was one of the two terms of reference (TOR) by the tribunal to seek the removal of the six EC members if misconduct was proven.
The other TOR was to determine whether there was any misconduct in the first place.
He said given the fact that the EC members had already tendered their resignations, the question was whether the proceedings would serve any useful purpose.
Shim pointed out that the tribunal was not tasked with matters involving electoral laws and regulations.
Counsel Datuk Shaharudin Ali, who is representing four of the former EC members, concurred with Puravalen’s submission of the matter being academic.
He stated that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to handle the issue of misconduct as all EC members in question had resigned.
Upon hearing submissions at the Klang Court Complex, the tribunal reserved its decision for a later date.
After the hearing held at the Klang Court Complex, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, the co-counsel for the four ex-EC members, slammed the tribunal.
“When you have no jurisdiction over this matter (misconduct), you have nothing more to say.
“This proceeding is an embarrassment for the AGC. This is a Black Monday for the rule of law,” he said.
The six ex-EC members involved are Tan Sri Othman Mahmood, Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam Karupiah and Datuk Leo Chong Cheong.
Shaharudin appeared for Abdul Aziz, Othman, Md Yusop and Sulaiman, while counsels Datuk K. Kumaraendran and R. Kengadharan represented Bala Singam and Leo respectively.
Last Oct 17, it was reported that the government would set up the tribunal to investigate the six for electoral malpractice.
A day later, five of them announced their resignation. The remaining member, Bala Singam, quit on Nov 27.
The tribunal members were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with Articles 114(3), 125(3) and 125(4) of the Federal Constitution to look into alleged misconduct by the six former EC members in the preparation and conduct of GE14 last year.
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