GE14 tribunal undecided on whether to make decision public or report directly to King

01 Apr 2019 / 17:59 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The tribunal looking into the allegations of misconduct committed by six former members of the Election Commission (EC) during the 14th General Election (GE14) remained undecided on whether to announce their decision publicly or to send the report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Retired Federal Court judge Tan Sri Amar Steve Shim who chaired the tribunal raised this question during the third day of the tribunal hearing at the Asian International Arbitration Centre here, today.

“How should we deliver this decision? Should it be done through the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or by making an announcement publicly?” he asked.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said the tribunal has the power to make the decision, hence there was no need to go back to His Majesty.

“If it is an announcement of a decision of a preliminary issue, I don’t see why the tribunal cannot do so under the Constitution, without the representation to the King,” he said.

Thomas said it was also possible for the tribunal to make the announcement and then make recommendations to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Lawyer Datuk Shaharuddin Ali, who is representing the four former EC members, concurred that the decision should be made public, but was firm on the decision that his clients should not be tried as the King had accepted their resignations, adding that it was not open for them to question the King’s decree.

However, the tribunal consisting of retired Federal Court judges Tan Sri Zaleha Zahari, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham, reserved its decision for another date.

Thirteen charges were framed against the six former commissioners in connection with their role in preparing the controversial re-delineation report and the manner in which GE14 on May 9, 2018, was conducted.

In the hearing today, questions also arose on whether a person can be removed from office when they no longer held a position there.

Shaharuddin said the resignation of his clients was not done in anticipation on the tribunal set up, as it was understood that there was already a discussion within the EC on the shortening of their services, prior to their resignation.

Thomas also said former EC chairman Hashim Abdullah was not hauled up for misconduct as he had resigned before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s consent to set up the tribunal, while other members of the EC resigned only after the King gave the nod to establish the tribunal last December.

The six were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with Articles 114(3), 125(3) and 125(4) of the Federal Constitution.

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.

Lawyers Shaharudin and Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz represented Othman, Yusop, Aziz and Sulaiman, counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran and K. Kumaraguru appeared for Bala Singam, while R Kengadharan appeared for Leo.

On Oct 17, 2018, the government had reportedly begun the process of setting up the tribunal. A day later, five members of the EC announced their resignation from office.

The one remaining member, Bala Singam tendered his resignation on Nov 27, 2018. — Bernama

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