KUALA LUMPUR: The tribunal looking into allegations of misconduct committed by six former Election Commission (EC) members in the 14th General Election has decided not to go ahead with proceedings.
In a 3-2 decision, the tribunal concluded that any proceedings held would be academic as the six former EC members had already resigned from their positions.
Retired Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim said
the proceedings would not be in public or national interest because it would take up time, energy and expense.
“The fundamental question today is this: Is it in public interest or indeed national interest to spend so much time, energy and expense in going through potentially the whole cumbersome and objective exercise merely to seek the removal of the six commissioners?
“They have already removed themselves, whether voluntary or otherwise, from the commission. The answer, in my view, is obvious.
“I find no good in the public interest. It would be an exercise in futility,” Shim said during the tribunal yesterday.
He chaired the tribunal together with four other retired Federal Court judges.
Like Shim, Tan Sri Zaleha Zahari and Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar were against continuing proceedings.
Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham, however, said the proceedings should go on as they were of public interest.
The tribunal’s recommendations would be submitted to the relevant authorities, said Shim.
On Oct 17 last year, it was reported that the government would set up a tribunal to investigate the six for alleged electoral malpractice.
A day later, five of the EC members announced their resignations, while another member resigned on Nov 27.
However, the tribunal heard that their resignations only took effect on Jan 1 this year and that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the shortening of their service.
The six former EC members concerned 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.
In August 2018, electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 sent a letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and urged him to investigate the commission, alleging that they had committed several offences.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said he was “disappointed” with the tribunal’s reasonings.
“Right-thinking people in Malaysia would question whether it matters if it takes two months and if it
is expensive to inquire the truth,” he said.
Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann also said he was disappointed with the tribunal’s decision.
He said he had been looking forward to the case being heard as it would vindicate Bersih’s assertion that the election was not totally free and fair despite the results.