Semenyih voter questions EC’s legal existence

  • Nation
  • Monday, 11 Feb 2019

Puan Sri Sabariah Mohd Shariff showing her statement at Shah Alam Court.

SHAH ALAM: A voter in Semenyih has filed what is probably the first case of its kind in the country.

Puan Sri Sabariah Mohd Shariff filed the suit at the Shah Alam Court via e-filing through the legal firm of Azam Aziz Shaharudinali & Co last Friday.

In her suit which named EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun, the EC and the Federal Government as the first, second and third defendants, Sabariah, 57, is challenging the EC's locus standi to hold and conduct the upcoming Semenyih by-election.

Speaking to the media at the lobby of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Court complex yesterday, Sabariah, 58, who was accompanied by her lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, said she believed it was her responsibility to address the matter as a Malaysian citizen.

"Seeing the current political development, I felt it was my responsibility, as a voter in Semenyih and a Malaysian citizen, to ensure the Rule of Law, in accordance to the Federal Constitution and the nation's legislation, is adhered to," said Sabariah.

Sabariah said she was merely a Semenyih voter who was not affiliated to any political divide.

"When the issue of the Election Commission's legality was raised on social media, I took my own initiative to appoint a lawyer as I believe only the courts can determine its (EC's)

In her origination summons, Sabariah is seeking a court declaration that the EC does not legally exist in accordance with clause 114 (1) of the Federal Constitution after Jan 1, 2019.

She is also seeking a declaration that the meeting on 18 Jan, chaired by EC chairman Azhar Azizan, is illegal as well as null and void under the same clause.

This is because the meeting was chaired solely by Azhar Azizan without the presence of a deputy chairman and the five election commission members.

(The EC was left with only Azhar Azizan after collective resignations of deputy chairman Tan Sri Othman Mahmood and the five committee members, Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam dan Datuk Leo Chong Cheong,came into effect on Jan 1, 2019.

She is also seeking a prohibitive injunction to prevent Azhar Azizan from holding meetings or doing anything to conduct the Semenyih by-election until the EC's full committee is appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in line with the Federal Constitution.

Sabariah said she is not seeking any costs as hers is a public interest case.

Meanwhile, Mohd Khairul Azam said he believed Sabariah's case was the first of its kind in the country.

He added his client hoped the courts will act fast on the matter as nomination day was scheduled to be held at the end of this week.

The EC has fixed nomination day on Feb 16 while early voting will be held on Feb 26 and polling on March 2.

The Semenyih state seat fell vacant after the death of Pakatan assemblyman Bakhtiar Mohd Nor on Jan 11.

Bakhtiar, who was the Semenyih Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia division chief, had garnered 23,428 votes against the then incumbent Datuk Johan Abdul Aziz of Barisan, who got 14,464 votes. PAS candidate Mad Shahmiour Mat Kosim received 6,966 votes while PSM's S. Arutchelvan got 1,293 votes.

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