SHAH ALAM — Feb. 25, 2019: The originating summons filed by a voter to stop the Election Commission (EC) from going ahead with the Semenyih by-election on March 2 has been dismissed.
Senior federal counsel Azizan Md. Arshad, representing the defendant, told reporters that High Court judge S. M. Komathy had made the decision after finding that there was no need for the involvement of a certain number of EC members to fulfil the quorum at any meeting to make a decision.
Thus, the court decided that the EC can continue discharging its functions legally.
According to Azizan, Section 33C of the 11th Schedule of the federal Constitution states that any vacancy in the commission’s membership will not affect a decision made at its meeting.
He said the judge made the decision after referring to the case of Attorney-General versus Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, in which a Court of Appeal judge decided that the EC could continue functioning legally even with less than seven members.
In this case, Azizan represented the EC, its chairman Azhar Azizan @ Harun and the federal government as the first, second and third defendants.
Plaintiff Puan Sri Habibah Mohd. Shariff was represented by Datuk Shaharudin Ali and Mohd. Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.
In her summons, Sabariah sought a declaration that the EC meeting on January 18 chaired by Azhar Azizan and without the deputy chairman and five members was null and void and contravened Article 114(1), thus rendering all decisions made at the meeting null and void.
Sabariah also sought an injunction to restrain Azhar Azizan from holding meetings and/or proceeding with, executing, carrying out any act of conducting or organising and/or implementing the Semenyih by-election until all the members of the EC had been appointed.
Five of the EC commissioners resigned on last October 18 and another on November 27, with their resignations effective on January 1.
On Jan. 18, Azhar Azizan announced that the by-election would be held on March 2.
On Feb. 14, the government announced the appointment of Associate Professor Azmi Sharom, Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim, Datuk Chin Phaik Yoong, Assoc. Prof. Faisal S. Hazis and Zoe Randhawa as commissioers. – Bernama