KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Oct 2009: Embattled Perak Speaker V Sivakumar and six others were given the nod by the High Court here today to challenge the decision of the Election Commission (EC) in not holding by-elections in three state seats in Perak.
Sivakumar, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblypersons Chen Fook Chye, Tai Sing Ng and A Sivanesan, and three voters were allowed to seek a review in a bid to quash the EC’s decision in not declaring vacant the Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang state seats.
This was following the decision of the three former PR assemblypersons from those constituencies to be independent members of the state assembly friendly to the Barisan Nasional (BN).
The three voters in the suit are from those constituencies namely, Ahmad Sabry Wahab (Behrang), Abdul Latif Ariffin (Changkat Jering) and Foo Hon Wai (Jelapang).
Following today’s decision, the applicants’ counsel, Ranjit Singh, said they would have to file the judicial review application in which the court would later set a date to hear the matter.
Justice Lau Bee Lan made the decision in chambers after dismissing a preliminary objection from the Attorney General (AG)’s Chambers that the applicants have no “locus standi” (legal standing) to challenge the EC’s decision.
Instead, she ruled that Sivakumar and the six others have the “locus standi” to do so.
Lau also did not accept the AG’s argument that the matter was academic following the Federal Court‘s decision on 9 April 2009 that the EC, and not the Speaker, was the rightful entity to declare electoral seats vacant.
The applicants initiated the suit against the EC and the assemblypersons, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang).
Jamaluddin and Osman won their seats on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) tickets and Hee, under the DAP banner, in the March 2008 general election. They left their parties and pledged support for the BN, leading to the collapse in February 2009 of the PAS-PKR-DAP coalition government in Perak led by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS.
On 3 Feb this year, Sivakumar notified the EC that the three seats were vacant after purportedly receiving the trio’s resignation letters.
The EC, however, doubted that they had indeed resigned, and did not hold by-elections in those constituencies.
In their leave application, which was filed on 10 March, Sivakumar and the six sought a declaration that the Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang seats became vacant following the resignation of Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee.
The applicants also filed for an injunction to stop the trio from acting and carrying out the functions and duties of assemblypersons.
They are also seeking a writ of “quo warranto” to compel the trio to show why they were still representatives of their constituencies and were still able to carry out the responsibilities, functions and duties of assemblypersons. — Bernama