03 February, 2009

No by-elections for Perak, Changkat Jering And Behrang Not Vacant !

The Election Commission announced that by-elections are not necessary for the state seats of Changkat Jering and Behrang as there are doubts over the resignation letters said to have been submitted by the representatives.

- Malaysiakini.

There will be no by–election in constituencies of Changkat Jering and Behrang, the Election Commission (EC) decided today after determining that the resignation letters from the two assemblymen Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi(Behrang) were doubtful.

Speaking to the media after a meeting on the matter, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said: “While the two assemblymen did not deny signing on the resignation letter, they do not agree to the date of enforcement on the letter (Jan 31, 2009).”

“At today’s meeting we decided after much deliberation and scrutiny that there are some doubts on the resignation letters submitted to the EC by the Perak state assembly Speaker,” he said.

“This is taking into consideration the fact that the two assemblymen have themselves consciously denied that the resignation letters are in force,” Abdul Aziz said.

“Thus the EC has decided that it cannot use its powers under Section 36 (5) of the Perak Constitution to establish a casual vacancy for the two seats,” he said.

“We have therefore decided that the two seats are to be retained by Osman and Jamaluddin who won the two seats during the 12th General Election,” said Abdul Aziz.

Earlier at 11am, Abdul Aziz chaired a special meeting of the commission which lasted almost two hours to discuss the issue following the announcement by Perak State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar in a statement that Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman had submitted their letters of resignation as State Assemblymen for Behrang and Changkat Jering respectively on Sunday.

On the other hand, Jamaluddin, in a two-page statement which was distrbuted to the media yesterday denied that he had sent the letter to Sivakumar vacating the seat as had been reported.

Jamaluddin said the report was baseless and he also denied that he had absconded but was on medical leave since last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mohd Osman lodged a police report at the Shah Alam Police Headquarters through a representative on the issue concerning the seat vacancy.

At the press conference here, Abdul Aziz had confirmed receiving two letters, one from Sivakumar and the other from Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman yesterday.

The EC received all four letters (two from Sivakumar and two copies of Mohd Osman and Jamaluddin’s denial letter to Sivakumar) at about 8am on Feb 2.

On whether EC has the final say on the matter, Abdul Aziz said: “When the situation of a casual vacancy arises, the EC has to first establish if the vacancy exists or not.”

“But here (in this case) there is doubt because both the resignation letters and the letters denying the validity of the submission of the resignation letter are both from the same assemblymen,” he said.

“Because of the doubts we have decided to maintain status quo, and there will be no by-election,” Abdul Aziz said.

Asked if the EC is concerned about the matter being disputed in court, he said: “This is a democratic country so if anyone is not satisfied they have the right to go to the courts.”
“The EC will not probe into this issue any further,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Rakyat has given the Election Commission 48 hours to review its decision that Behrang and Changkat Jering assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu retained their seats and no by-elections were necessary.

Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said that should the Commission fail to do so, Pakatan would embark on its next course of action.

He would not say what form this action would take.

Ngeh said that the Commission did not have the jurisdiction to inquire into the validity of the two resignation letters sent to Perak Legislative Assembly speaker V. Sivakumar on Sunday.

He said that under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the Commission was compelled to conduct elections and had no right second-guess the decision of the speaker.

“The law does not allow the Commission to conduct any inquiry, any dissatisfaction must be decided by the court.

“In this were the case, it can even refuse to proceed with elections despite being notified by the Prime Minister that Parliament has been dissolved,” he said.

DAP national advisor Lim Kit Siang said the Commission had acted unconstitionally by refusing to recognise the Perak state assembly speaker’s decision to hold by-elections.

“The Commission’s constitutional duty is to act on the Perak speaker’s official notification on the vacancy of the two state assembly seats and call for by-elections to be held in the next 60 days,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

He said the Commission had no jurisdiction to dispute the speaker’s decision.

“Any such legal challenge should come from Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman if they want to challenge the legality of their resignations from their respective state assembly seats,” he said.



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