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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Judiciary fails to help check EC’s powers



YOURSAY | ‘No matter what, the perception is just that - both public institutions are tainted.’
Kim Quek: Just because the law does not categorically stipulate that the Election Commission (EC) is duty bound to explain to voters how it finalises its delineation proposal, the EC can perform any fanciful acrobatics with the electoral roll without having to justify for it?
In this case, plaintiff Haris Ibrahim’s constituency, Petaling Jaya Selatan, which has already an oversized number of voters of 90,000, is now supercharged to almost double the original number to 160,000.
This is a blatant violation of the one-man-one-vote principle governing redelineation as declared in the Thirteenth Schedule, Para 2(c) of the Federal Constitution.
For such horrendous transgression of the constitution, the EC does not have to account for it? Is EC above the law?
And that is exactly what the Court of Appeal is telling us when it exempts the EC from having to justify what it did.
And how could Haris’ (and fellow voters’) rights not be infringed when his voting power has already been halved as a result of the doubling of number of voters in his constituency?
Haris should appeal, irrespective of the prospect of winning, as such appeal would at least buy time to prevent the current allegedly flawed judgment from being used as a legal precedent to prejudice future cases against the EC.
Anonymous 2327531438397239: To conclude there is no law covering the right to know in a delineation exercise shows just how much thought has been put into focus.
Judges are there not only to interpret existing laws but to put forth their learned judgment in creating precedents for voiding unjust acts which could be detrimental to a just and fair outcome.
If ordinary citizens can see the weaknesses and biasness in a delineation exercise, should it not be clearer for those who hold high offices in law?
Hang Babeuf: "Nothing in the legislation ..." etc. etc. Sorry, your honours, but this reasoning is just “dungu/’plodder’ legalism”, nothing more. Be sensible.
Look at the (constitutionally mandated) purpose of elections. They are there to identify and give rise to government that has popular legitimacy. Elections cannot do that unless the electoral system is credible.
To be credible, its procedures (including, crucially, in delineating constituencies and their boundaries) must be transparent.
To find otherwise may find some contrived basis in a misconceived exercise in legalistic literalism. But it has no foundation in generally accepted understandings and theories of modern electoral democracy.
Lawyers who remain wilfully ignorant, or merely unaware, of political philosophy (as the field is generally seen and understood worldwide) cannot reach sensible and sustainable decisions in matters such as this by any limited recourse to black-letter narrow-mindedness.
Decisions in this area need wisdom, based upon broad human understanding, knowledge and culture.
No matter how dedicated, judges lacking this base of reasoning will always "get things wrong". At popular expense. And at the expense of democratic constitutional legalism itself.
HaveAGreatDay: We see a court here not willing to perform its constitutional duty - that is to stand as a bulwark against the excesses of the executive; to enable an ordinary rakyat to seek redress when his/her rights have been trampled on.
Anonymous #19098644: So according to the Court of Appeal, citizens have no rights even if the EC decides that one voter is equal to one constituency, while one million voters is equal to another constituency.
Read your oath of office to uphold the constitution, and justice.
Existential Turd: Yes, so theoretically, the EC can redelineate such that Najib Abdul Razak's house and his lackeys as a single constituency and the rest of Malaysia as another constituency and there is nothing we can do about it?
The Analyser: Maybe there is no law, but there are principles. Like the principle that an employee is responsible to the person/s who pay their salary and work on their behalf.
What has happened to the common sense of the legal fraternity that it had to be solely reliant on laws in its decision-making.
The legal system is one place where re-interpretation of the law as society's standards change is the way a society adapts to change.
Ferdtan: Can one day judges make verdicts without having to justify how they arrive at their decisions based on their understanding of the laws?
Isn't it the same with the EC on the process of redelineation? Both are public institutions serving Malaysians who pay their salaries.
If there is transparency in the way they are carrying their work as enshrined by the constitution, then people in EC should not be afraid to reveal the process. That is unless they have malicious ulterior motives to benefit the ruling government.
No matter what, the perception is just that - both public institutions are tainted.
Ipohcrite: Indeed, how can voters not be given the right to know how delineation is done simply because the right to know is not expressly stated? So now you know why they say the law is an ass.
Shunyata: Everything in supposedly democratic Malaysia is put behind a veil of secrecy. Even government jets doing private trips.
Yet, while the layers of dirt uncovered daily become open secrets, there’s nothing the minority of us can do because the majority of Malaysians have neither guts nor conscience.

Even officers investigating high-level corruption cannot fight the decaying system designed by the fabulously wealthy elite and run by their servants.
Malaysians, have we accepted this as our fate?-Mkini

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