Court allows Sivarraajh to challenge EC over Camerons ban

MIC’s C. Sivarraajh is seeking to contest the by-election in Cameron Highlands in a bid to return as the constituency’s MP. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed an application by MIC’s C Sivarraajh to challenge the Election Commission’s decision barring him from contesting in the Cameron Highlands by-election on Jan 26.

Sivarraajh’s counsel A Vasanthi said judge Nordin Hassan made the decision in chambers in the presence of senior federal council S Narkunavathy who acted for the EC, the respondent.

The court set Thursday to hear the judicial review application.

Meanwhile, Narkunavathy said the court dismissed an objection raised by the EC that it was premature, on the grounds that the case had to be heard as there were issues to be decided upon.

Sivarraajh, 43, who is an MIC vice-president, filed the application on Dec 31 to seek a court order to quash the EC decision barring him from contesting or voting in any election for the next five years.

He also sought a declaration that the report of the Election Court judge dated Dec 13, 2018, to the EC was invalid because it did not adhere to the provisions of Section 37(1)(a)(i) and (ii) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

The particular section refers to “whether any corrupt or illegal practice has or has not been proved to have been committed by or with the knowledge and consent of any candidate at the election, or by his agent, and the nature of such corrupt or illegal practice, if any; and the names and descriptions of all persons, if any, who have been proved at the trial to have been guilty of any corrupt or illegal practice”.

Sivarraajh also sought a declaration that the EC decision was invalid and suppressive against him, and claimed general and special damages.

On Nov 30, the Election Court annulled Sivarraajh’s victory in Cameron Highlands saying there was vote-buying during the election campaign. Sivarraajh did not appeal the decision to disqualify him as MP.

The EC has set nomination for the by-election on Jan 12, early voting on Jan 22 and polling on Jan 26.