Penang High Court dismisses DAP MP’s EC review application

By Opalyn Mok
Zairil (centre) had named EC as respondent and filed a judicial review seeking a declaration that the proposed recommendations by EC for Penang's parliamentary and state constituencies are null and void. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 13 — The Penang High Court has dismissed today a judicial review application against the Election Commission's (EC) redelineation exercise filed by DAP MP Zairil Khir Johari.

In dismissing the application without costs, Justice Lim Chong Fong said the time was not right for a judicial review of the delimitation exercise as the process is still ongoing.

He said the EC will submit a report on the exercise to the Prime Minister as provided under the Federal Constitution.

"Until that process is completed, a judicial review at this juncture is not an appropriate process," he said when reading out his decision today.

He said the final report on the delimitation of constituencies will be submitted to Parliament so the final decision about it lies with Parliament as it is for the Parliament to accept, amend or reject the redrawing of the boundaries.

However, he added that the High Court may still review appropriate cases at its discretion if rules are breached.

Zairil, through his lawyer Yap Boon Hau, had named EC as respondent and filed a judicial review seeking a declaration that the proposed recommendations by EC for Penang's parliamentary and state constituencies are null and void.

The Bukit Bendera MP claimed that the EC's proposal did not address the malapportionment of constituencies in Penang.

He also sought a declaration that the EC's failure to review the boundaries of Bukit Bendera, Tanjung Bungah, Air Putih, Kebun Bunga and Pulau Tikus constituencies was unconstitutional and thus, null and void.

Later, outside the courtroom, Zairil said the judge was not throwing the case out entirely except to say that the time was not right for it now since the process is not completed yet.

"Now, we have to think of whether to move forward or wait for a later stage," he said.

He said Penang's case is unique as he has filed a judicial review over EC not conducting any delimitation exercise to correct any malapportionment of constituencies in Penang.

His lawyer, Yap said they will study the judge's written grounds before deciding on the next course of action.