Ex-EC members to oppose AG’s submissions before tribunal

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Four former Election Commission members, who resigned from office, but were later charged with misconduct, will oppose Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas’s application to make further submissions before a tribunal, their lawyers said.

In a statement, they said the AG was “abusing the process of the court” when he was bound by the submissions made before the tribunal by the then conducting officer M Puravalen.

“We will oppose the AG’s appearance in person before the tribunal to account for his act and conduct in refuting the legal submissions made by Puravalen during an earlier hearing,” the statement said.

The lawyers said this in response to Thomas’ request to the tribunal to convene on Feb 28 to hear oral submissions from him.

The statement said the lawyers for ex-EC members received a letter dated Feb 15 from the tribunal formed to investigate allegations of misconduct by their clients.

Lawyers Shaharudin Ali, Mohd Khairul Azam Abd Aziz and Syed Azimal Amir Syed Abu Bakar are appearing for former deputy chairman Othman Mahmood, and EC members Md Yusop Mansor, Abdul Aziz Khalidin and Sulaiman Narawi.

Another two, K Bala Singham and Leo Chong Cheong, are also represented by K Kumaraendran and R Kengadharan respectively.

The statement said Puravalen had made a clear and lucid submission on Jan 28 that there was no case to be made out against the six because they were no longer in office.

Puravalen had said the findings would be largely academic since the EC members had already quit the institution.

However, Thomas in a statement on Jan 30 accused them of trying to frustrate the tribunal’s investigations by resigning and attempting to “avoid the ignominy of being removed”.

All six of them resigned from the EC following the announcement that the government had begun setting up the tribunal.

FMT on Jan 31 also reported that Thomas removed Puravalen for his failure to act according to government’s instruction.

The tribunal, comprising Steve Shim, Zaleha Zahari, Suriyadi Halim Omar, Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Prasad Sandosham Abraham, is scheduled to deliver its ruling on whether or not the matter is academic on a date to be fixed.

Thirteen charges have been framed against six former EC members in connection with their role in preparing the redelineation report and the manner in which the May 9 polls were conducted.

The EC came under fire during the 14th general election from Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its supporters, who accused it of acting in favour of Barisan Nasional.