Woman goes to appeals court to get Semenyih by-election nullified

Sabariah Mohd Shariff. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A woman whose suit to stop the Semenyih by-election last month that was dismissed has not given up on her legal battle.

Sabariah Mohd Shariff, 58, has now filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal to reverse the findings of the Shah Alam High Court judge S M Komathy.

“She instructed us to file the appeal as fundamental constitutional issues are involved,” Sabariah’s lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz said.

He said the Semenyih by-election results could be nullified and another fresh election be held if the appeal is allowed.

The Court of Appeal has fixed case management on April 24.

On Feb 26, Komathy dismissed Sabariah’s originating summons, and ruled that Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun on his own could announce the nomination and polling day for the by-election.

Komathy made the decision after referring to the case involving Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, in which the Court of Appeal decided that the EC could continue functioning legally even with fewer than seven members.

The Semenyih by-election was won by Barisan Nasional’s Zakaria Hanafi, who received 19,780 votes against Pakatan Harapan’s Muhammad Aiman Zainali who got 17,866 votes.

Two other candidates, PSM’s Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul and independent Kuan Chee Hong, got 847 votes and 725 votes respectively.

In her suit, Sabariah, a voter in Semenyih, sought a declaration that the EC’s meeting on Jan 18 chaired by Azhar in the absence of the deputy chairman and five members was null and void.

She said Azhar’s action was contrary to Article 114(1) of the constitution.

Sabariah said the EC could not conduct any by-election until all its members were appointed by the Agong in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

Othman Mahmood, Md Yusop Mansor, Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Sulaiman Narawi, K Bala Singam and Leo Chong Cheong had quit as commissioners, but their resignations took effect from Jan 1.

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

It was only on Feb 14 that the government announced the appointment of five new EC members: Azmi Sharom, Ramlan Ibrahim, Chin Phaik Yoong, Faisal S Hazis and Zoe Randhawa.