Polls boundary alteration: Court to rule next month

ec-courtPETALING JAYA: The High Court in Ipoh will rule on May 5 whether to allow leave for judicial review filed by two MPs seeking to quash the Election Commission’s (EC) second proposed recommendations to redraw election boundaries.

Justice Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali fixed the date after hearing submissions from lawyers in her chambers.

On March 31, Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran and Ipoh Timor MP Thomas Su Keong Siong filed the judicial review and named the EC as a party to their suit.

They said following the first proposed recommendation by the EC on Sept 15 last year, a local inquiry was held and they provided feedback.

However, they received no reply to their complaints.

They said “suddenly”, on March 8, the second notice of the proposed recommendations was advertised in daily newspapers.

The MPs, who are also lawyers, said their views and complaints were not taken into account.

Both, represented by Surenthra Ananth, said the number of voters in each constituency in Perak was not equal and in breach of the guidelines stated in the Federal Constitution.

They added the EC’s proposal would disrupt the maintenance of local ties, especially in their constituencies.

They said the second notice, which excluded Selangor, which was part of the Federation of Malaya, was also unconstitutional.

Government lawyer Suzana Atan submitted that the application filed by the MPs was clearly without merit.

“The leave application is clearly frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the court process.”

She said the constitution did not state explicitly that the redrawing of boundaries for all states in the peninsula must be done simultaneously.

Suzana, who was assisted by Shamsul Bolhasan and Azizan Md Arshad, said the second notice was valid as ruled by the Court of Appeal recently.

She said the second recommendation was legal and could not be challenged in court as the EC was only a tribunal.

“The Federal Court has held that the decision of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (tribunal) into the VK Lingam video tape scandal is not bound by judicial review because their decisions are not final.”

However, Surenthra replied that the EC’s recommendation must go through judicial scrutiny or else it would be deemed academic when proposals were handed to the prime minister, who will then table it in Parliament for voting.

Kulasegaran and Su, in a press statement, expressed hope the courts would uphold the spirit of the constitution to ensure the EC carried out its duty in accordance with the law.