KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― The Court of Appeal ruled today that voters were not entitled to receive information from the Election Commission (EC) on how it arrived at the redelineation process.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that the appellate court, in refusing activist Haris Ibrahim’s appeal to a decision by a lower court that had rejected his application to obtain information on the EC’s proposed redelineation, ruled that he had not pleaded on how the EC would be infringing on his rights.
Justice Datuk Zamani A. Rahim, who wrote the judgment, also reportedly cited the lack of federal legislation in Malaysia protecting freedom of information, compared to India and Canada.
“Based on the above, (Haris’) appeal is without merit and should be refused. It is a challenge to the constitutional duties of the EC as specified under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution,” he was quoted saying in the unanimous decision by the three-member bench.
Article 113 talks about the conduct of elections, including the duties of the EC.
Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led the panel that also comprised Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi, reportedly made no order on costs.
Haris told reporters that his Petaling Jaya Selatan constituency would turn into the larger constituency of Petaling Jaya after the redelineation with about 150,000 voters from the original 90,000 voters.
“My votes are now diluted as a result of this,” he was quoted saying after the verdict.
The Star reported that the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in June 2015 that Haris’ application to obtain information on the redelineation exercise was premature as the redelineation had not yet started.
Haris reportedly filed for a court order in January 2015 to compel the EC to furnish the details of all constituencies in its redelineation exercise on its website, like in India.
The information the activist sought reportedly included maps and documents on the constituencies