KUALA TERENGGANU, 12 Feb 2009: The Election Commission (EC) is still studying if the Bukit Selambau seat is truly vacant before deciding whether to call for a by-election for the state seat in Kedah.
EC chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said a decision was expected on the matter after a special meeting tomorrow to discuss and study documents related to the vacancy of the Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang seats.
He added that the Federal Constitution stated that a by-election can only be held once the EC was satisfied that a state or parliamentary seat was lawfully vacant.
“For the Bukit Gantang seat…since the MP (Member of Parliament) has passed away, it is definitely vacant but Bukit Selambau is a different issue and we need to gather detailed information and documents to make a decision.
“If we can establish that the Bukit Selambau seat is vacant, we will go ahead with the by-election. If the seat is not vacant, then the elected representative will remain,” said Abdul Aziz after handing out certificates to EC staff involved in the Kuala Terengganu by-election, last night.
Abdul Aziz said the EC could not just accept the Kedah legislative assembly Speaker’s statement that a vacancy existed for the Bukit Selambau seat, and to go ahead with a by-election.
“We have to look at the issue from various perspectives and not just make a decision based on assumption or because somebody asked us to. The EC will dispense its duties professionally based on the procedures, information and according to the law,” he said.
The Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of PAS MP Roslan Shaharum on Monday, due to a heart attack, while Bukit Selambau assemblyperson V Arumugam from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was said to have tendered his resignation on Sunday.
Abdul Aziz has not dismissed the possibility of the by-elections for both Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau to be held simultaneously, once the EC made its decision.
Speaking of the Kuala Terengganu by-election that was held without any problems, Abdul Aziz said the smooth election process received praise from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.
“Tuanku Mizan was satisfied with the incident-free by-election for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat,” he said. — Bernama