High Court dismisses bid to stop Semenyih by-election

The Shah Alam High Court has ruled that the EC does not need a quorum to make a decision.

SHAH ALAM: The High Court here today dismissed the originating summons filed by a voter to stop the Election Commission (EC) from going ahead with the Semenyih state by-election on March 2.

Judge SM Komathy made the decision in chambers with no order as to costs against the plaintiff, Sabariah Mohd Shariff, 58.

After the proceedings, senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, representing the defendants, told reporters the court made the decision after finding that there was no need for the involvement of a certain number of EC members to fulfil the quorum at any meeting to make a decision.

“The court decided that the EC can continue to discharge its functions legally.

“Section 33C of the 11th Schedule of the Federal Constitution clearly states that any vacancy in the commission’s membership will not affect the decision made in its meeting,” he said.

Azizan said the judge also made the decision after referring to the case of the Attorney-General vs Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, in which the Court of Appeal judge decided that the EC could continue functioning legally even with fewer than seven members.

Azizan represented the EC, its chairman Azhar Harun and the government as the first, second and third defendants.

The plaintiff was represented by Shaharudin Ali and Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.

In her originating summons, Sabariah sought a declaration that the EC meeting on Jan 18, chaired by Azhar without the deputy chairman and the five members, was null and void and contrary to Article 114(1), and that all the decisions made at the meeting were also null and void and could not be executed by Azhar.

Sabariah also sought an injunction to restrain Azhar from holding meetings and conducting the Semenyih by-election until all the members of the EC have been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

The six former EC members are Othman Mahmood, who was the deputy chairman, Md Yusop Mansor, Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Sulaiman Narawi, K Bala Singam and Leo Chong Cheong.

Five of them resigned on Oct 18 last year, and the other on Nov 27. Their resignations took effect on Jan 1.

On Jan 18, Azhar announced that the Semenyih by-election would be held on March 2, with nomination on Feb 16 and early voting on Feb 26.

On Feb 14, Chief Secretary to the Government Ismail Bakar announced the appointment of five new EC members: Azmi Sharom (deputy chairman), Ramlan Ibrahim, Chin Phaik Yoong, Faisal S Hazis and Zoe Randhawa.