Surendran: Disqualification likely to be overturned in court

N Surendran says the disqualification of party comrade Tian Chua may be overturned in court.

PETALING JAYA: Tian Chua’s disqualification is unlawful, unconstitutional and liable to be set aside by the court, said lawyer N Surendran, a PKR vice-president and former MP.

He said the Federal Constitution disqualification was for “a fine not less than two thousand ringgit” and it was settled law that this meant that the fine must be more than two thousand ringgit for the disqualification to operate.

Tian Chua was disqualified from seeking re-election to the Batu parliamentary seat this morning by the returning officer who, he said, would not accept a High Court decision he had submitted with his nominations papers.

The decision was also criticised by Eric Paulsen, executive director of Lawyers for Liberty. He said on Twitter: “This is wrong. The High Court judge was very clear during sentencing that following previous precedent, the fine of RM2,000 would not disqualify him from GE.”

Surendran said there were various legal authorities confirming the disqualification level, including another case involving Tian Chua himself in 2010.

Tian Chua’s fine in the current case was reduced to RM2,000 and “hence, the law says he was qualified to contest,” said Surendran, who is an adviser to the Lawyers for Liberty group.

He said it was “shocking and incomprehensible that the Election Commission’s officers were ignorant of the above legal authorities. The disqualification is unacceptable, and is a taint upon the electoral process in the Batu constituency.”

Surendran was a MP for Padang Serai but was not fielded by his party for the general election on May 9.

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