‘Let them have legal representation’
> Bar Council: Those presenting objections at EC enquiry have right to equal protection of law
PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council has called on the Election Commission (EC) to allow legal representation to those who have objected to its proposed redelineation exercise.
Its president Steven Thiru said the Bar Council took the view that legal representation during the enquiry process must be allowed under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees equality and equal protection of the law against discrimination as a fundamental right accorded to all persons.
“The enquiry process is an important one and the public has a constitutional right to be given an opportunity to be heard.
“We also note that political parties from both sides of the divide have expressed serious concerns regarding the proposals, and that the EC has received an astounding 836 representation objections to the delimitation exercise.
“It is therefore crucial that the EC permits legal representation,” he said in a press statement issued yesterday.
In addition, Thiru called on the EC to uphold the principle of “one person, one vote, one value” in its redelineation exercise.
Stating that this is a universally accepted practice and constitutionally required, he said it can be achieved by ensuring an approximately equal number of voters in each constituency.
He said while Paragraph 2(c) of the Thirteenth Schedule was inserted in 1973 to allow acceptable departure from the said principle due to the state of economic development then and large disparities between urban and rural constituencies, the situation today has changed.
“The only acceptable departure from this principle is with regard ‘to the greater difficulty of reaching electors in the country districts and the other disadvantages facing rural constituencies’, where ‘a measure of weightage for area ought to be given to such constituencies.
“This is a safeguard against the willynilly manipulation of boundaries of constituencies,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Selangor government has filed for a judicial review of the EC’s redelineation proposals.
It seeks to quash “the notice and draft of constituencies plan for the state which contains the proposed recommendations for delimitation of constituencies by the EC”.
It also wants an order to direct the EC to publish a fresh notice and fresh “proposed recommendations”, which must comply with the “thirteenth schedule to the Federal Constitution”.
The state government also wants the High Court to compel the EC to use the current electoral roll, the supplementary electoral roll certified on July 20 this year, and to take into account 136,272 voters in Selangor, whereby no addresses are stated.
It claims the notice and draft is lacking in detailed particulars, “such as ordinary voter, local authority or state government”, and wants sufficient particulars in order that ordinary voter, local authority or state government would be able to exercise their constitutional right.
... Pos Malaysia personnel Nur Izzati Che Husin, 24, displays the Penang Free School 200-year celebration stamp series.The items will be available for sale during the celebration at the school on Oct 21.