KLANG — Jan. 28, 2019: The Malaysian Bar is of the opinion that the findings of the tribunal to investigate allegations of misconduct by six former members of the Election Commission (EC) before last May’s elections may be academic since they have resigned.
According to M. Puravalen, counsel for the Bar Council, the purpose of having the five-member tribunal was overtaken by the resignations.
He told the tribunal which started proceedings today that the Bar is duty-bound to inform that this is the legal position of Malaysian law and common law.
The other two who are assisting the tribunal are Lim Wei Jiet, also from the Malaysian Bar, and Kogilambigai Muthusamy from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The tribunal comprises retired Federal Court judges Tan Sri Amar Steve Shim as chairman, Tan Sri Zaleha Zahari, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan and Datuk Dr. Prasad Sandosham Abraham while the six former EC members are Tan Sri Othman Mahmood, Datuk Md. Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam and Datuk Leo Chong Cheong.
Shim said the tribunal is to decide if there was misconduct by the six and whether they should be removed if the misconduct was proven. Since they have resigned the question arises whether it serves any useful purpose to hear the charges against them. Further, the tribunal is not tasked with informing on electoral laws and regulations.
Counsel Datuk Shaharudin Ali, who agreed with Puravalen’s submission, said the tribunal has no jurisdiction to enquire into the conduct of the six since they are no longer in office.
Rebutting the claim, Zaleha said the tribunal members were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and they were duty-bound to decide on the issue based on the facts.
“You can’t say we have no business to be here.”
The tribunal reserved its decision after hearing the submissions. — Bernama