Feb 19 hearing of originating summons against EC

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SHAH ALAM (Feb 12): The High Court today set Feb 19 to hear the originating summons filed by a voter to stop the Election Commission (EC) from going ahead with the by-election for the Semenyih State seat.

Lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, representing the voter and plaintiff Puan Sri Sabariah Mohd  Shariff, said the case would be heard before Judge S M Komathy.

“We hoped that the case could be heard before the nomination (for the by-election) on (Saturday) Feb 16 but that’s the earliest date (Feb 19) that the court could grant. We have handed over all the cause papers to the defendants,” he said in a statement.

Besides the EC, Sabariah, 58, has named EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun and the Federal government as the second and third defendants.

Yesterday, Mohd Khairul Azam told reporters that it would be left to the court to decide whether the EC was a valid entity when only the chairman was carrying out its official duties after the deputy chairman and five members resigned on Jan 1 with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

He said that in accordance with Article 114(1) of the Federal Constitution, the Election Commission shall be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers, and shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman and five other members.

In her originating summons, Sabariah is seeking a declaration that the EC does not exist and has become illegal and/or unconstitutional after Jan 1 in accordance with Article 114(1) of the Federal Constitution.

She is also seeking a declaration that the EC meeting on Jan 18 chaired by Azhar Azizan himself without the deputy chairman and the five members was null and void and contrary to Article 114(1) and all the decisions made at the meeting were also null and void and could not be executed by Azhar Azizan.

Sabariah is also seeking an injunction to restrain Azhar Azizan from holding meetings and/or proceeding with, executing, carrying out any act of conducting or organising and/or implementing the Semenyih by-election until all the members of the EC have been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

The six former EC members are Tan Sri Othman Mahmood (who was the deputy chairman), Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam and Datuk Leo Chong Cheong.

Five of the members resigned on Oct 18, 2018, and one on Nov 27, 2018, and all their resignations took effect on Jan 1, 2019.

On Jan 18, Azhar Azizan announced that the Semenyih State by-election would be held on March 2 and that the nomination was on Feb 16 and early voting on Feb 26.