EX-EC CHIEF CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF SEMENYIH BY-ELECTION PENDING OUTCOME OF COURT HEARING

PETALING JAYA: The Semenyih by-election should be postponed pending a court hearing on the legitimacy of the Election Commission – currently run by only one person – says a retired member of the commission.

Former EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the case warranted urgent attention, as six other posts were vacant when the decision on nomination and polling dates were made.

“The legitimacy of the EC must be verified, or else it would set a bad precedence,” he said.

Wan Ahmad added that Article 114 (1) of the Federal Constitution clearly stated that the EC shall be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers, and shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman, and five other members.

“But right now the EC comprises only the chairman. In the past, meetings would not be held if there was no quorum of at least four members in attendance,” he said.

Noting that EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun had earlier said that the meeting on the Semenyih by-election was made together with the secretariat, Wan Ahmad said the validity of the meeting would come into question as the secretary was not a commissioner.

“The EC appoint all the officials including secretary, returning officers and assistant returning officers to manage general elections and by-elections.

“By logic, a commission does not comprise of one man. If one man is allowed to function as a Commission, why then the law specifically mention the numbers?” he said.

Wan Ahmad said it was timely that a voter in Semenyih was seeking a court order to halt the by-election.

The vacant positions have yet to be filled following the en masse resignation of six members of the commission effective Jan 1 this year.

These were Tan Sri Othman Mahmood, Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam Karupiah and Datuk Leo Chong Cheong.

Wan Ahmad was commenting on a Semenyih voter’s move to apply for an injunction at the Shah Alam High Court to halt the by-election process beginning Feb 16.

The voter had filed the suit via e-filing last Friday (Feb 8).

Wan Ahmad said although the by-election was called in accordance with the Election Act 1958, provisions in the Federal Constitution should reign supreme.

“The court must first make a ruling on the legitimacy of an EC run by only the chairman,” he said.

THE STAR

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