PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal yesterday dealt a blow to the Selangor government when it set aside a High Court’s order to stay the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation process
The decision means that EC is allowed to continue conducting local enquiries in Selangor.
Malay Mail Online reported that in a majority decision, the three-member bench led by Tan Sri Idrus Harun said there were merits in the EC’s application to set aside the stay order.
The High Court had earlier granted a stay to the state government, pending the latter exhausting its appeal after losing its judicial review bid to have the EC’s redelineation declared unconstitutional.
The Selangor government had filed for a judicial review challenge against the redelineation process.
The state government had repeatedly expressed its concern that the appeal would be rendered “academic” if the EC was allowed to push through with the redelineation in the interim period.
Meanwhile, Selangor state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong said the state will proceed with the appeal against the High Court decision regarding their judicial review despite their failure to obtain a stay order.
“We don’t want the results of our appeal to become academic. But nevertheless we will continue with our appeal,” she said.
Senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh, representing the EC, had argued that the stay order would prevent the EC from doing its constitutional function.
The EC started its redelineation process in September 2016 and must complete the process by September 2018.
The next general election must be held by August 2018.
Free Malaysia Today reported that electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 was disappointed with the appeal court’s decision.
In a statement yesterday, Bersih 2.0 claimed EC had opted to push for the redelineation cases despite significant objections on grounds such as missing addresses, malapportionment and gerrymandering.
The English news portal reported Bersih 2.0 saying that holding local inquiries without establishing or resolving these concerns would result in ineffective implementation, waste of government resources, and failure to take into account electoral best practices and respect for the right of voters.
“The EC and the courts are avenues of justice and a recourse to address errors and wrongs in electoral matters,” said the statement.
“They must act for the people and in the interest of the people; and as such, they should not follow the government’s election calendar when dealing with issues of redelineation.”
Bersih 2.0 also claimed that the matter was pushed through the courts at “lightning speed”, not allowing sufficient time to respond to developments in the case.