PUTRAJAYA: The Selangor government has again failed to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) exercise in redrawing electoral boundaries for the 14th general election (GE14).
In a unanimous decision, a three-man bench chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi today dismissed the state’s appeal, a day after the Dewan Rakyat passed a motion to approve the EC’s recommendations.
Justice Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, who delivered the oral judgment, said the EC’s proposals could not be challenged in court by way of a judicial review.
“The proper forum is to go to the local inquiry to challenge the EC’s proposals,” he said.
He added that any act or omission by the EC was not amenable to judicial review under Order 53 of the Rules of the High Court.
Ong said the court could, however, receive and hear complaints if any objections were not heard in a local inquiry.
He said under Section 5 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, a state government, a local authority or a group of at least 100 voters could file complaints against the EC.
“So the appellant (the state) has locus standi,” he added.
The third member of the bench was Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
On Dec 7, Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan said his decision to dismiss Selangor’s case was partly due to two binding Court of Appeal rulings arising from the EC’s appeal against voters in Melaka and two MPs.
However, the judge acknowledged that the EC had failed to come up with rebuttal evidence on some contentious issues raised by the state.
Azizul dismissed all four grounds canvassed by the state. These were over alleged malapportionment and gerrymandering in most constituencies, the claims that the names of 136,000 voters were apparently missing and that the EC had failed to use the latest electoral roll to conduct its exercise, and a lack of information in the notice before the boundary redrawing exercise was carried out.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya, a member of the state’s legal team, said the bench had not said the appeal was academic although the Dewan Rakyat had approved the motion.
“We will take instructions from our clients whether to file an appeal in the Federal Court,” she told reporters.
Yesterday, 129 MPs from the ruling Barisan Nasional government voted for the motion while 80 from the opposition were against it.
The EC’s recommendations will become law once the king has given his royal assent and they are gazetted.