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Saturday, January 29, 2011

EC: Let court decide on Port Klang seat status

The Election Commission (EC) has decided against holding a special meeting any time soon to determine the status of the Port Klang state seat, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said today.

The EC chairman said today that the commission will wait for the decision of the High Court in view of the fact that Badrul Hisham Abdullah himself had filed for a court order to stop the EC from deciding on the status of the state seat.

“The matter has already been taken to court, so we will not have any special meeting to discuss about the Port Klang state seat.

“The High Court has set February 7 to hear this case, so when it is taken up to court we have to follow (the court ruling)... The EC will wait for the court decision first,” Abdul Aziz (picture) told The Malaysian Insider.

Badrul failed yesterday to get an interim order to stop the EC from discussing the status of the Port Klang state seat which was declared vacant by the Selangor Speaker last week.

However, judge Suraya Othman said it did not mean that the EC should go ahead and discuss the issue ahead of a full hearing on February 7.

“The various quarters should act accordingly, especially the second defendant which is the EC, to only take action after the suit is heard on February 7,” Badrul’s lawyer Abu Bakar Isa Rahmat quoted her as saying when he met reporters yesterday.

The High Court has fixed February 7 at 2.30pm to hear the Umno man’s bid to block the EC from meeting.

It is understood that the judge’s advice means the EC is not barred from meeting to discuss the status, but should refrain from doing so when they know there is going to be a court hearing soon.

The EC was supposed to meet last night to discuss the case.

Badrul maintains he is still the assemblyman for Port Klang despite Selangor Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim having declared the seat vacant last week, following the lawmaker’s alleged six-month absence from the state assembly.

The EC had previously said it would go ahead and decide on Port Klang’s status in spite of Badrul’s court application.

In his latest application, Badrul has asked the court for:

• An interlocutory injunction to stop the second defendant, its members, workers and/or agents from taking any action to decide whether or not there is a vacancy in the Port Klang state constituency, until the case is heard and decided or further instructions are given;

• An interlocutory injunction to stop the second defendant, its members, workers and/or agents from taking any action to hold a by-election in the Port Klang state constituency;

• Costs related to this application and other monetary relief as the court sees fit.

Teng was again named first defendant in the new suit, and the EC as the second defendant.

In his initial suit filed against the EC and Teng last Monday, Badrul had asked the court to:

• Declare he is still the state assemblyman for the Port Klang constituency and has the right to attend all proceedings in the Selangor state legislative assembly and carry out his related duties;

• And/or alternatively, declare there is no vacancy in the Port Klang state constituency;

• And/or alternatively, declare the decision of the first defendant [Teng], who declared the Port Klang state seat, as ultra vires according to Article LXIX [69] of the Selangor state constitution 1959 and/or void and illegal.

The court had initially fixed February 17 to hear that application.

Badrul said he had written to tell Teng about it in a letter, which the latter had acknowledged on December 10 last year.

“I stated that the Speaker has a ‘niat jahat’ (bad intent) because he knew that I was suffering from long-term health problems and could not attend the third term of the third sitting of the Selangor state legislative assembly meeting between November 8 and 16, 2010,” he said, adding that he was seeking traditional medical treatment.

Badrul noted that Teng had rejected his reason in a written reply dated December 21 and unilaterally decided the former’s absence was without approval and summarily declared the seat was vacant.

Teng had formally informed the EC about the vacancy of the state seat last week, declaring that the lawmaker was no longer an assemblyman.

The first-term Speaker had said the Selangor constitution stipulates that the power to declare a casual vacancy in a seat lay with the Speaker and not the EC.

He added the Port Klang seat was vacant from January 16 when Badrul failed to attend state assembly proceedings for six months since July 15, 2010. - Malaysian Insider

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