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MPs, voters head to Federal Court to challenge EC

 | October 12, 2017

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran says his lawyers have submitted three questions of law to obtain leave to set aside a Court of Appeal ruling that courts are powerless to inquire into the work of the EC.

maria-M-Kulasegaran-ecPETALING JAYA: Two opposition MPs and seven voters from Melaka have now gone to the Federal Court to seek to reverse a ruling that the courts are powerless to interfere in the work of the Election Commission (EC) in redrawing electoral boundaries.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the voters had filed a leave to appeal application to set aside a July 18 Court of Appeal decision.

“At this moment , it is only fixed for case management on Nov 15,” she said, adding that she was unsure how many questions had been framed to obtain leave in order for the apex court to hear the merit of the appeal.

Meanwhile, Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said his lawyers had submitted three questions of law to obtain leave.

“The Melaka case and our case will likely be heard together as the issues and the respondents (EC) are the same,” he said.

Under section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, the Federal Court will only hear appeals arising from a civil suit if the issues raised have a far- reaching effect on the Federal Constitution, are novel and of public importance.

Last week , Court of Appeal judge Kamardin Hashim said the EC should be allowed to complete the delineation exercise within a two-year period without any hindrance, in dismissing an appeal by Kulasegaran and Ipoh Timor MP Thomas Su Keong Siong.

Kamardin had said their action to challenge the delineation process was, therefore, premature as the EC only made suggestions to parliament.

“In our view, the appellants brought their fight to the wrong ring,” he had said in the 40-page judgment delivered last week.

On Aug 14, the three-man bench, which had been chaired by Mohd Zawawi Hashim, delivered an oral ruling that the court was not the right forum to hear their grievances.

Kamardin said the bench was bound by a Federal Court ruling which held that a recommendation by a tribunal, including a Royal Commission of Inquiry, was not a decision that could be reviewed in a court.

He said Kulasegaran and Su could challenge the EC proposal at the local inquiry which, he added, was the appropriate forum in this case.

In the Melaka case, the High Court on May 3 had ruled it could hear the merit of their complaint but this was later reversed by the Court of Appeal.

Kulasegaran, Su and the voters from the Kota Melaka and Bukit Katil parliamentary constituencies complained that the EC did not follow the redelineation guidelines as provided in the constitution.

A similar challenge mounted by the Selangor government against the EC is now being heard on its merit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The EC had published an 18-page notice in major newspapers last September on the proposed redelineation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah which must be completed within 24 months. It has only completed its task for Sabah.


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