MP: You're wrong EC chairman, court decision is actually a big blow to you
Padang Serai MP N Surendran says the KL High Courtâs ruling on Selangorâs challenge to the Election Commissionâs redelineation exercise does not prove that the EC has been vindicated but that the EC has failed in ensuring transparency.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur High Courtâs ruling in a redelineation case is a devastating indictment of the Election Commission, MP and lawyer N Surendran said today.
It was certainly not a vindication of the EC as claimed by its chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah, he added.
Hashim had yesterday claimed that the decision of court, earlier in the day, to reject the judicial review application filed by the Selangor government over the ECâs proposed redelineation exercise in the state was proof that the EC had discharged its duties in a transparent manner and in accordance with the law.
Hashim had said the decision also âindirectly deniedâ allegations by certain quarters that the EC was carrying out the redelineation in the interest of certain parties, alluding to claims that the whole exercise was for the benefit of the ruling Barisan Nasional.
Surendran said the courtâs decision did not in any way vindicate the EC.
âThe court, in dismissing the suit, found that the actions of the EC did not legally bind and adversely affect the state government. This is very far from saying that the redelineation was properly or fairly done!
âIn fact, the decision was a devastating indictment of the ECâs conduct in the redelineation process.â
The Padang Serai MP said Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan, in his oral decision, found that the EC had fallen short of international transparency standards.
âThis confirms and reinforces longstanding complaints by the opposition and civil society upon the conduct and standards of the EC. This is a stunning blow to the EC and BNâs claim that elections are free and fair. There can be no fairness if there is no transparency.â
More critically, Surendran said, the judge ruled that the EC had failed to rebut the extremely serious allegations of malapportionment and gerrymandering raised by the Selangor government.
âThe EC and BN leaders have repeatedly denied that there has been malapportionment and gerrymandering in the redelineation exercise; but when given the opportunity to rebut the allegations in court, they failed to do so.
âThe fact that they did not rebut it, simply means that they could not do so.â
Surendran called on the EC and Prime Minister Najib Razak to provide an immediate explanation to the public on the poor transparency standards and the âtaint of malapportionment and gerr ymanderingâ in the processes carried out by the EC.
âThe right to a free and fair vote is the cornerstone of our democracy; upon this feature of our constitution no compromise must be tolerated,â added the opposition parliamentarian.
In dismissing the Selangor governmentâs application, the judge said his decision was partly due to a binding Court of Appeal ruling arising from the ECâs appeal against voters in Melaka.
However, the judge allowed the stateâs interim stay application pending the outcome of Selangorâs appeal in the Court of Appeal.
âThe EC is stopped from conducting any local inquiries until the appeal is disposed of,â Azizul had said.
The judge noted that the EC had failed to come up with rebuttal evidence on some contentious issues raised by the state, telling lawyers appearing for the Selangor government: âI encourage you to appeal this ruling.â
The PKR-led Selangor government filed the legal challenge in October last year, seeking to nullify the ECâs notice of redelineation, claiming it violated the Federal Constitution in drawing new electoral boundaries.
Among other things, the state wants a declaration that the notice was lacking in details and would cause voters, local authorities or the state government to be unable to exercise their constitutional right to file representations.
Source: Google News