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EC redrawing boundaries: Nurul wins right to be heard

 | January 3, 2017

Judge says although the EC does not make the final decision on redrawing of seats, a flawed process could be reviewed by the court.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Nurul Izzah Anwar and 10 others today won the right to have the court hear their judicial review application to quash the Election Commission’s (EC) proposal to redraw the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat.

This follows today’s decision by Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan that the applicants had satisfied the requirements to obtain leave.

Azizul said the application was not frivolous and the applicants had legal standing to file the case.

He said the EC was only involved in a decision-making process and it was susceptible to judicial review by the court.

“Although the EC does not make a final decision on redrawing of boundaries, a flawed process could be reviewed by the court,” he told a packed courtroom.

The judge also allowed an application that the EC suspend its on-going exercise to conduct inquiries in all the parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur pending the outcome of this case.

Azizul has fixed for the merits of the case to be heard on Feb 15.

Meanwhile, EC legal adviser Azizan Md Arshad told reporters he would convey the ruling to the commissioners and decide whether an appeal should be made.

Earlier, Senior Federal Counsel Amarjeet Singh objected to the applicants being granted leave as the prospect of being successful was remote.

He said the applicants should participate in the inquiry and assist the EC to come to a decision.

“The EC only recommends its proposal to the prime minister and the final decision is made by Parliament.”

Lawyer Surendra Ananth, who appeared for the applicants, said his clients had a genuine case and it involved their constitutional rights.

The applicants who filed the judicial review application last November had named the EC, its chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah and secretary Abdul Ghani Salleh as respondents.

Nurul said the redelineation exercise went against the fundamental principle — “one person, one vote, one value”.

“But 59 years after Merdeka, Malaysia has become increasingly notorious for gerrymandering and apportioning seats that would favour the incumbent,” she said.

On Sept 15, the EC advertised a notice in major newspapers to redraw election boundaries for the peninsula and Sabah.

Currently, the EC is conducting an inquiry to prepare its report to be submitted to Parliament, which must be done within 24 months.


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