Prisoner Anwar cannot vote, court rules


PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today dismissed jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal seeking a declaration that he had a right to vote in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election two years ago.

In affirming the High Court’s decision last year, the three-man bench chaired by Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid also ordered Anwar to pay RM5,000 in costs to the Election Commission.

“We dismiss the appeal with costs and affirmed the decision of the High Court which rejected the appellant’s (Anwar) application for a declaratory order,” she said.

The other members in the bench are Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Hasnah Mohammed Hashim who made the unanimous ruling.

Lawyer N. Surendran who is part of Anwar’s legal team said they would file an appeal in the Federal Court.

Earlier, lead counsel Gopal Sri Ram said EC had denied Anwar’s right to vote under Article 119 of the Federal Constitution.

He said the EC had affirmed an affidavit that his client was entitled to vote as he was not a convicted person when he had registered to vote in the constituency.

The government’s lawyer Amarjeet Singh said although EC did not dispute Anwar’s right to vote, Article 119 stated that a voter “could not cast his ballot while in prison or of unsound mind”.

Anwar, 69, is serving a five-year jail term at the Sungai Buloh Prison after he was convicted on a charge of sodomy.

He filed the appeal after the High Court rejected his bid for a declaration on his right to vote in the by-election held on May 7, 2015.

The High Court had on July 15 last year ruled that the EC had no jurisdiction to bring Anwar to the polling station in any election.

The court also held that a prisoner must apply to the Prisons Department director-general to make necessary arrangements to allow a prisoner to vote.