Federal Court rules Sarawak redelineation exercise valid

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Federal Court has ruled that the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation exercise in Sarawak is valid. – Reuters pic, October 15, 2015.

The Federal Court today refused a Sarawak assemblyman and a voter leave to challenge the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation exercise on the grounds that the matter was now academic.

A ‎three-member panel chaired by Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, in ‎upholding the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the EC’s notice of its redelineation of Sarawak’s electoral boundaries was valid, 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,” he said.

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.

Raus said a written judgment would be made available later.

Lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who appeared for Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, said outside the court later that the bench appeared to have accepted EC’s submission on Tuesday that it had handed over its report to the prime minister.

Senior Federal Counsel Amarjeet Singh said the Federal Court did not have the jurisdiction to determine the  constituency redelineation case, as the EC report on the proposed recommendations is given to the prime minister to be tabled in Parliament.

Amarjeet, who head the civil division in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said as such, the matter was rendered academic.

The Election Commission is seeking to create 11 new state seats, increasing the number from the existing 71 to 82. – File pic, October 15, 2015.

The Election Commission is seeking to create 11 new state seats, increasing the number from the existing 71 to 82. – File pic, October 15, 2015.

Raus said the court could not interfere with parliamentary proceedings.

“The report at this stage is at the exclusive jurisdiction of the prime minister and the Dewan Rakyat,” he said, in dismissing the application by See and Ulu Baram voter Pauls Baya.

Both sought leave of the Federal Court to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision.

Amarjeet said the Dewan Rakyat would decide whether to adopt the recommendations with or without any amendments.

He said a notice was gazetted confirming that the EC had completed its functions in the redelineation exercise, adding that the matter was already out of their hands.

He said the EC stated in its affidavit that the final report on the redelineation exercise for Sarawak was submitted to the prime minister on August 21.

EC is seeking to create 11 new state constituencies, increasing the number from the existing 71 constituencies to 82.

Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, who represented Pauls, told the bench that leave should be granted as key constitutional issues were involved. – October 15, 2015.

 

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