Court throws out Segamat voters’ appeal on army men

The voters had said that the EC’s inclusion of the 949 names of army personnel and their spouses was unconstitutional. (AFP pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal brought by 48 voters in the Segamat parliamentary constituency of Johor over their application to challenge the entry of 949 names of army personnel and their spouses in the electoral roll.

The voters, led by Abdul Wahab Hassan, had sought to obtain leave to commence a judicial review to challenge the inclusion of the names in the Supplementary Electoral Roll for the third quarter of 2017.

They appealed to the Court of Appeal after failing to obtain leave at the High Court.

Today, a three-man panel comprising Ahmadi Asnawi, Kamardin Hashim and Suraya Othman dismissed the appeal with no orders as to costs.

“We are of the view that there was no error committed by the High Court judge,” said Ahmadi, who chaired the panel.

He said the appeal also did not have merit.

The voters filed the leave for judicial review application on Feb 26 this year, seeking to remove the 949 names from the electoral roll. They named the Election Commission (EC) and its Johor registrar, Shafie Taib and Segamat adjudicating officer, Miswan Yunus, as respondents.

They sought a declaration that the EC’s action was unconstitutional as it did not satisfy Article 119 of the Federal Constitution.

They also claimed that public investigation into the entry of the names had found that it clearly breached natural justice and did not correctly follow the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, and was therefore unreasonable, irrational and unbalanced.

The group filed a fresh bid after the Court of Appeal, on Jan 21, allowed the EC’s application to set aside the decision of the High Court on Jan 8 granting them leave for the judicial review.

During the proceedings today, lawyer Surendra Ananth, representing the voters, said leave to commence the judicial review should be granted as his clients had an arguable case and wanted proof that the army personnel were residing and working in the Segamat constituency.

Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, appearing for the respondents, argued that the names had been gazetted into the electoral roll and could not be challenged in court as provided for under Section 9A of the Election Act 1958.

Surendra told reporters that he would seek instruction from his clients on whether to bring the matter up to the Federal Court.