Thursday, September 19

EC’s notice null and void


High Court declares delineation exercise notice not in accordance with Federal Constitution

See (left) with Fong (right) and other senior federal counsels after the court proceeding at Kuching High Court yesterday.

KUCHING: Kuching High Court Judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie yesterday made an additional order to declare Election Commission’s (EC) Notice of Delineation Exercise dated Jan 5, 2015 as null and void and of no legal effect.

“There should be an order of declaration that the publication of the notice of proposed recommendation of the delineation into constituencies for the purpose of election in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly was not in accordance with Section 4 of the Thirteenth Schedule and, therefore, null and void and of no legal effect,” she said.

Before this, the High Court had ordered EC to republish the notice “in full compliance with the provisions contained in the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution”.

Yew, in her May 15, 2015, ruling on the judicial review brought by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and a voter in Ulu Baram, Pauls Baya, agreed with See’s contention that there was a serious and considerable lack of details in the Jan 5 notice for people who are affected to make a decision.

She said it was essential for EC to publish the electoral roll, the list of proposed changes, and the areas affected so the public would know how they would be affected by the redrawing. The failure of the EC to publish the notice in detail, she added, had breached the requirements spelt out in the Federal Constitution.

With the latest ruling, the EC would have to go through the process all over again under Section 4 of the Thirteenth Schedule, such as republishing the notice and carry out enquiries before the recommendation is tabled in Parliament for approval.See said after the court proceeding that the EC would have to republish the notice and start the process again.

“But then there is already a lot of information available from the previous exercise. All they need to do is just to give more information and make the process of delineation more transparent and just.

“I think this is what we are entitled to. This is actually putting into order a better process that the EC should follow, which I think is good,” he said. See believed the republication of the notice and delineation exercise could be completed before the 11th state election as the term of the present State Assembly would only expire in a year’s time – in June 2016.

“The EC can complete the whole exercise in five months. That was the time they took to complete the last delineation exercise,” he said.

See, who is also PKR Sarawak vice chairman, said he personally did not take part in the objection and did not participate in the last enquiries following his decision to challenge the publication of the notice. He did not want to speculate whether PKR Sarawak would file objections and participate in the upcoming enquiries after the new publication of delineation notice.

“It depends on the notice to be republished and the proposed recommendations.

“But I think they should learn from this decision because the judge has spelled out what are the contents that are found lacking, such as the provision of electoral rolls and that they should give more detailed particulars. They should comply with the decision of the Court.”

Meanwhile, State Legal advisor, Datuk JC Fong, when interviewed after the judge had made the additional order, said nothing was mentioned about the enquiries that had been held and representation that had been made, that there had been no order to the effect.

Asked whether the whole exercise would be defective considering the notice had been declared null and void, Fong said, “The court did not rule that the process of receiving representation and holding enquiry on those representation or objection was null and void.”

When asked if the state government would appeal against the court decision, he said the state government was only an affected party and was just offering its views, which had already been given to the court.