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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Voters turn to court as EC denies them lawyers during inquiries

The denial of the services of a lawyer is in breach of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, say seven voters in application for leave for judicial review.
spr2KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) and its chairman have been hit with yet another legal action by voters, this time for being denied the right to be represented by lawyers during local inquiries.
Seven voters from two parliamentary and five state seats in Kedah, Perak and Johor have filed leave for judicial review.
They want a declaration from the High Court that the EC’s action is against the Federal Constitution and the Commission of Enquiries Act 1950 and that the exercise is null and void.
In their application filed today through legal firm Messrs Daim & Gamany, the seven also seek all other relief deemed fit by the court in the interest of justice.
The applicants are Chua Yee Ling, Chai Wee Siong, Hashim Yusof, Zamri Yusof, Muhammad Arafat, Mohd Isa Ahmad and Dr Chong Fat Full.
The seven also represented the minimum 100 voters in the affected constituencies to voice out their dissatisfaction over the conduct of the EC in carrying out boundary alterations.
The two parliamentary seats are Tambun in Perak and Ledang in Johor while the state seats are Bukit Selambau and Bakar Bata (Kedah), Kuala Sepetang (Perak), and Semerah and Bukit Batu (Johor)
Chua, who affirmed an affidavit in support of the leave application, said the EC and its chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah had sidelined the Enquiries Act during proceedings to hear the voters out.
“The inquiry is similar to a court proceeding but we were denied the right to be represented by lawyers,” he said.
Chua said the denial of the services of lawyers of their choice was also in breach of Article 5 of the Constitution.
“The refusal to allow lawyers during proceedings had caused us to be unable to put our complaint effectively, and is a breach of our fundamental right,” he added.
He said the EC’s violation of the Constitution and the law passed by parliament left them with no choice but to seek a declaration that the current exercise was null and void.
On Sept 15, the EC advertised a notice in major newspapers to redraw election boundaries for the peninsula and Sabah.
Currently, the EC is conducting an inquiry to prepare its report to be submitted to parliament, which must be done within 24 months.
Since then, four other aggrieved parties have taken the EC and Hashim to court, the most notable being the Selangor government and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. -FMT

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