Court to decide on Monday (Feb 25) in case against EC over Semenyih polls

  • Nation
  • Friday, 22 Feb 2019

SHAH ALAM (Bernama): The High Court will make a decision on Monday (Feb 25) in the case of an originating summons filed by a voter to stop the Election Commission (EC) from going ahead with the Semenyih state by-election on March 2.

Judge S.M. Komathy set the date on Friday (Feb 22) after hearing the arguments of the two sides in chambers.

The voter, Puan Sri Sabariah Mohd Shariff, 58, had named the EC, EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun and the federal government as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.

Sabariah was represented by counsel Datuk Shaharudin Ali and Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz while the defendants were represented by Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Md Arshad and Datuk 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 chairman remaining after the deputy chairman 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 an EC 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 has become illegal and/or unconstitutional after Jan 1 in accordance with Article 114(1) of the Federal Constitution.

She is also seeking a declaration that the EC meeting on Jan 18 chaired by Azhar Azizan himself without the deputy chairman 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 Azizan.

The six former EC members are Tan Sri Othman Mahmood (who was the deputy chairman), Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam and Datuk 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 Azizan announced that the Semenyih State 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 Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar announced the appointment of five new members of the EC, namely Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom (as the deputy chairman),

Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim, Datuk Chin Phaik Yoong, Assoc Prof Dr Faisal S. Hazis and Zoe Randhawa. - Bernama

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