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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Six in Britain lose bid to be registered as absent voters


KUALA LUMPUR: Six Malaysians staying in Britain have failed in their judicial review application to be registered as absent voters in the next general election.
High Court Justice Rohana Yusuf dismissed the application after ruling that the Election Commission's (EC) decision to not register the six as absent voters was in accordance with the law.
In her 10-page judgment read out in court yesterday, she said it was made clear at the outset of the case by the applicants that they were not challenging the validity of the law the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 but merely questioning the validity of the EC's decision.
“I must say that this application is rather odd. It is essentially a challenge of a decision by a body that simply complies with the law. In other words, it is a challenge of a perfectly valid decision of the EC under the Regulation.
“If the Regulation is not challenged and is thereby accepted as valid law, then I am unable to understand how a decision made pursuant to such law can be subject to a judicial review,” she ruled.
She also said that counsel for the six had contended that the EC was the same body which made the regulations, and that the categories listed were not exhaustive.
“In my considered view, such argument is naive and ignorant of the fact that the regulation-making power and administrative decision of the EC are two different powers enjoyed by the EC.
“The EC cannot, in exercise of its administrative power, use its regulation-making power to change the rules. The present application, therefore, must be seen to be an attempt to circuitously urge this court to make an order for the EC to breach the existing law,” she said.
She added that the court also could not make an order directing the EC to register the applicants as absent voters as that would be tantamount to ordering the commission to act against the provisions of laws which were “valid, enforceable and remain unchallenged”.
“The application in my view is ludicrous and bordering on abuse of court process. Thus, I hereby dismiss the applications, and make no order as to cost,” she ruled.
The six Dr Teo Hoon Seong, electrical engineer V. Vinesh, entrepreneur Paramjeet Singh, Dr Yolanda Sydney Augustin, translator Sim Tze Wei and software architect Leong See See filed the application on Oct 25 last year to compel the EC to register them as absent voters in the next general election.
They sought a declaration that as Malaysians staying abroad, they were entitled to be registered as absent voters and directed the EC, named as the sole respondent, to register them.
They also sought for an order to quash a decision made by the EC, which notified them in a letter dated Sept 9, that it would not register them as absent voters. - theStarOnline

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