The Kuching High Court has set Feb 17 for decision on Sarawak PKR’s leave application for a judicial review to declare null and void the delineation exercise by the Election Commission (EC).
It has proposed to increase the seats in the Sarawak Assembly from 71 to 82.
Judge Yew Jen Yie also granted further submissions to be heard on February 4 with replies on Feb 6.
When the case came up for mention this morning, the arguments centred on the publication of notice and lack of details displayed.
Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan who represented the EC, said that it had complied with the legal requirements that under the Federal Constitution it was to publish in one local newspaper circulated in the constituencies concerned.
The EC had published the notice on Jan 15 in the New Sarawak Tribune and Utusan Sarawak, the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia in peninsula Malaysia and Borneo Post in Sabah.
The EC had also published the notice on its website.
“So as far as the notice was concerned, it was valid,” Shamsul told reporters.
See Chee How, who represented Sarawak PKR, told the press that Sarawak PKR was challenging the publication of the notice which had insufficient particulars.
It is also questioning if the notice published in the newspapers did reach the affected constituents.
“Under Clause 4 Schedule 13, it must be published in constituencies where the voters are affected. After all, that is the purpose of publishing the notice in the newspapers,” he said.
The state PKR was seeking several declarations to be made by the Kuching High Court which, among others, include:
The publication and notification of the EC to review the redelineation of the Sarawak state constituencies to fill the Sarawak legislative assembly is not in compliance with the provisions contained in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, and hence should be declared null, void and of no effect; and/or alternatively,
The proposed recommendations of the EC to review the division of Sarawak into federal or parliamentary constituencies, for the purpose of elections to the Dewan Rakyat as unconstitutional and is null, void and of no effect;
That there is serious and considerably lacking detailed particulars of the proposed recommendations and the draft constituency plan, which are opened for inspection from Jan 5 up to Feb 4;
A mandamus order to compel the EC to republish a notice of its proposed recommendations to review the division of Sarawak into constituencies for the purpose of elections to the state legislative assembly, in full compliance with the provisions contained in the 13th Schedule.
Altogether, there are 13 complaints so far received by the Commission on the delineation exercise which is now on display.