KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today set Thursday, May 3, to decide whether PKR vice president Tian Chua is qualified to contest the Batu parliamentary seat in the May 9 polls.
The Batu incumbent, whose nomination last Saturday was disqualified by returning officer Anwar Mohd Zain on the ground that he had been fined RM2,000 last month, filed an application today for a declaration on his eligibility together with a certificate of urgency.
He is also seeking other consequential relief deemed fit by the court.
His application, which named Anwar and the Election Commission as the first and second respondents, will be heard by Justice Nordin Hassan.
Tian Chua, who filed an affidavit to support his action, said it was settled law that a RM2,000 fine did not affect his eligibility as a candidate.
He contended Anwar acted in bad faith and showed disrespect for court rulings, and his action amounted to denying Batu voters a representative of their choice.
Tian Chua pointed out that in the 13th general election held in 2013, the returning officer for the constituency had allowed him to file the nomination paper, despite a previous conviction and a RM2,000 fine.
In 2010, High Court judge Ghazali Cha had maintained a RM2,000 fine imposed on Tian Chua for biting a policeman in 2007 as he did not want a by-election to occur as a result of his ruling.
“The Dewan Rakyat Speaker or any other parties did not challenge my status as MP then,” he said, arguing that he was entitled to contest again in the 14th general election.
Tian Chua said Anwar informed him last Saturday that his nomination paper was rejected as he was convicted and fined RM2,000 by a High Court in Shah Alam last month.
He was found guilty for insulting the modesty of a police officer by saying “stupid police” and other foul words outside the lobby of a hotel in 2014
The Sessions Court fined him RM3,000 for the offence but High Court judge Abdul Karim Abdul Rahman subsequently reduced the fine to RM2,000.
Tian Chua said he disagreed with Anwar’s decision as past court decisions had declared him eligible to contest.
He said Anwar also refused to follow the decision of the returning officer in 2013 who allowed him to contest.
“Anwar also said he was not bound by court rulings and the final decision (whether to accept or reject the nomination) was his,” he said.
Tian Chua said he appealed to Anwar to refer the matter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for a decision but he refused.
He said at 11.30am Anwar announced the list of eligible contestants minus his name.
Batu will see a four-cornered fight among Barisan Nasional, PAS and two independents.
The Federal Constitution disqualifies anyone from standing as an election candidate for five years on being sentenced to more than a year’s jail, or a fine of more than RM2,000.
Opposition leaders and civil society organisations like Bersih have condemned the disqualification.