PUTRAJAYA, March 2 — The Election Commission (EC) today succeeded in throwing out Selangor’s bid to prevent its report on delimitation, also known as redelineation, from reaching the prime minister.
A three-man Court of Appeal panel led by Tan Sri Idrus Harun today ruled that restraining the EC would have blocked the commission from performing its constitutional duty and obstruct Parliament from receiving the report, hindering due process.
Today’s ruling could effectively render academic the Selangor government’s appeal to set aside a High Court ruling that declared the delimitation exercise in the state valid and constitutional, according to one of its lawyers.
The appeal will be heard on March 23.
Lead counsel for the applicant, Gurdial Singh, commenting on the decision said the ruling in effect made the EC “above the law”.
“What happens if the Court of Appeal decides on March 23rd on our favour?” he told the press outside the courtroom.
“So in the interim they have allowed what is in fact…if the court decides against the EC then they can just say the EC may be allowed to proceed,” he added, referring to the court.
The Selangor government filed its judicial review application on October last year, naming the EC, its chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah and EC secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh as defendant.
The application was made to challenge the allegedly unconstitutional redelineation exercise in Peninsular Malaysia, but the Kuala Lumpur High Court subsequently dismissed it.
In his ruling, Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan said Selangor government’s lawsuit falls within the scope covered by a judicial review, but noted that two previous Court of Appeal decisions had said that the actions challenged in a judicial review must have legal binding effect and adversely affects the constitutional rights of those who sue.
The Selangor government’s core argument for the stay is that the EC had violated its constitutional duty by failing to perform certain key tasks in the delimitation process as perscribed by the Federal Constitution.