Penang govt to slug it out with AGC over EC’s redelineation exercise

The Attorney-General’s Chambers is challenging the Penang government’s leave application in the Federal Court.

PUTRAJAYA: The Penang government will fight it out with the Attorney-General’s Chambers in the Federal Court over the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation exercise.

Lawyer Leong Cheok Keng said the AGC had informed him that it would challenge the state’s leave application.

“We had expected the AGC to support our leave application so that the merit of our complaints could be heard in the High Court,” he told FMT.

Senior federal counsel Khairul Nizam Mohd Kamal informed deputy registrar Noor Haslinda Che Seman that the AGC would represent the EC.

Hearing has been fixed on Oct 29.

Leong said last month Attorney-General Tommy Thomas took the position the AGC would no longer impose a blanket objection to leave applications in judicial review cases as it wanted to promote the development of constitutional and administrative law.

Judicial review applications are filed by aggrieved parties to challenge the decision-making process of public authorities for breaching the rules of natural justice, the written law and the constitution.

An aggrieved party must get leave from the High Court before the merits of the complaints are heard, and a copy of this application is sent to the AGC.

Thomas had also issued a statement on June 22 that the AGC would no longer represent the EC in court.

The Penang government which filed a judical review on June 5 last year, had sought a declaration that the recommendations submitted by the EC on March 8 were invalid as they violated Article 113 (6) of the Federal Constitution.

It also sought a declaration that the electoral roll used in the redelineation exercise was not the latest and that it lacked details allowing voters, the local authorities and the state government to challenge it.

The state wanted a certiorari order for the EC’s recommendations to be quashed and the 2016 electoral roll to be revoked.

It also sought a mandamus order for the EC to draw up fresh proposals.

However, on Nov 20, High Court judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail refused the state government leave to bring the complaints for hearing.

The Court of Appeal on Feb 21 this year also dismissed the Penang government’s appeal, saying that aggrieved parties should attend local inquiries, or that MPs should challenge the EC’s recommendations when presented in the Dewan Rakyat.