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Court: EC not obliged to give information on redelineation

 | January 10, 2017

Activist Haris Ibrahim has not suffered from any breach nor has his constitutional right been violated, says Court of Appeal.

harisPUTRAJAYA: Activist Haris Ibrahim again failed in his bid to compel the Election Commission (EC) to supply him with all relevant information on the proposed redelineation exercise.

A three-man Court of Appeal bench unanimously dismissed Haris’ appeal, citing that it has no merit and that he has no controversy with the EC.

“The appellant has not suffered from any breach of private or public right as a result of the EC’s actions. His constitutional right has also not been affected,” said judge Zamani A Rahim who delivered the verdict. Others on the bench were Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Ahmadi Asnawi.

Zamani said since Haris was seeking a declaration, the court must be judicious in deciding whether to provide the relief.

The judge said Haris had sought information from the EC for him to make a meaningful decision to express his political right.

He also relied on Article 10 of the Federal Constitution on freedom of expression to support his claim that the EC must provide the information he wanted.

Zamani said unlike India and Canada, there was no Freedom of Information Act in Malaysia for the EC to meet Haris’ demand.

He said the wordings in the constitution must be interpreted and applied according to local circumstances, not influenced by the laws in other countries.

Zamani said the EC’s duty was spelt out in the constitution and it could not be ordered to provide beyond what was required.

Haris said the EC had in October 2014 made public statements that it was then collating information with a view to commence a nationwide redelineation exercise.

The EC had also announced that once the notice of the proposed redelineation had been gazetted, the public could study the proposed redelineation at selected places and registered voters could make representations if they were unhappy.

On Dec 8, 2014, Haris wrote to the EC asking for information to better understand any proposed redelineation to his parliamentary seat (Petaling Jaya Selatan) and state constituency (Bukit Gasing).

He did not get any reply from the EC.

In January 2015, he commenced proceedings in the Kuala Lumpur High Court but the suit was dismissed in June the same year on grounds his action was premature as the EC had not yet issued any notice of a proposed redelineation.

On September 15 last year, the EC gazetted a notice issued under Section 4, Part 2, 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution to carry out the proposed redelineation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.


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