Apex court missed chance to rule on voters’ rights in redelineation, says Ambiga

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Ambiga Seenevasan says voters must be given adequate details before they could participate in an inquiry conducted by the Election Commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says voters must be given adequate details before they could participate in an inquiry conducted by the Election Commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

The Federal Court has missed an opportunity to address the rights of voters when the Election Commission conducts its delineation exercise for state and parliamentary seats, said Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The former chairman of electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 said it was expected that the court would have given leave to appeal to discuss constitutional issues under Article 113 and 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

“We are disappointed that the apex court chose not to allow leave so that the merits of the appeal could have been argued,” said Ambiga.

The lawyer and activist expressed hope that the EC would do the “right thing” in its delineation exercises for Sabah and the peninsula.

“Bersih and other interest groups will keep a close eye on the EC,” said Ambiga, who appeared for Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How in challenging EC’s redelineation exercise in Sarawak.

Ambiga said voters must be given adequate details before they could participate in an inquiry conducted by the EC.

“Unfortunately, the Federal Court has affirmed that the Court of Appeal ruling that minimum particulars need to be given to voters,” she said.

Earlier today, a three-man Federal Court bench refused an application by See and Pauls Baya, a voter from Ulu Baram, for leave to challenge EC’s constituency redelineation exercise on the grounds that the matter was now academic.

The court said even if leave was allowed on some of the 15 questions, there was no prospect of success.

“The applicants also failed to pass threshold of Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 even though they raised constitutional issues,” said Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, who chaired the panel of judges.

On August 7, the Court of Appeal overturned the Kuching High Court’s ruling on May 15 that the EC had to republish its notice as it lacked details. – October 15, 2015.

 

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