Anwar sues over Permatang Pauh redelineation, claims voter rights breached

Lawyer N. Surendran (pictured) filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to challenge the Election Commission’s redelineation of the Permatang Pauh constituency. — File picture by Saw Siow Feng
Lawyer N. Surendran (pictured) filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to challenge the Election Commission’s redelineation of the Permatang Pauh constituency. — File picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today filed a lawsuit challenging the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation of the Permatang Pauh federal seat due to an alleged breach of his rights as a voter.

Anwar’s lawyer, N. Surendran, said his client’s lawsuit filed this morning at the Alor Setar High Court in Kedah represents “a major constitutional challenge upon the unfair delimitation of constituencies, which favours the ruling coalition”.

“This will be a test case for all other constituencies in the country where there has been malapportionment,” Surendran told the media in a statement.

Anwar’s lawsuit was filed together with PKR’s Lunas assemblyman Azman Nasrudin as an originating summons against the EC and the federal government.

In court papers sighted by Malay Mail Online, both Anwar and Azman sought a court order, namely a declaration that the redelineation of the Permatang Pauh and Sungai Petani parliamentary seats violates their rights as voters under the Federal Constitution’s Article 8(1).

Article 8(1) states that all individuals are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

In his supporting affidavit, Anwar said he is a registered voter eligible to vote in Permatang Pauh in Penang, noting that this federal seat’s registered voters totalled 71,699 during the 13th general election on May 5, 2013 and was 80,574 during the second quarter this year.

In Azman’s affidavit to support the lawsuit, he said the Sungai Petani seat where he is registered to vote had 93,176 registered voters during Election 2013, which rose to 101,219 registered voters during the second quarter this year.

Both Anwar and Azman compared the figures in the two PKR-held seats with the number of registered voters during the same periods in 12 other constituencies: Lipis, Gerik, Lenggong, Padang Rengas, Kuala Kangsar, Parit, Bagan Datok, Labis, Sembrong, Pengerang, Padang Terap and Sik.

The 12 other federal seats are all held by the ruling Umno, except for Labis that is held by the allied MCA, with the difference in number of registered voters during those two periods ranging from over 1,500 to slightly over 4,400.

Both of them jointly claimed that the difference in the total voters between their two constituencies and other constituencies “amount to malapportionment arising from the improper and / or unlawful delimitation” of the constituencies and violates their rights under Article 8(1).

“The malapportionment exists whether the figures during the 13th General Election or Second quarter of 2017 is relied upon,” they claimed.

Anwar’s joint lawsuit today is filed ahead of the 14th general election, which must be held by next August but may be called earlier.

The Permatang Pauh seat formerly held by Anwar is now held by his wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, while the Sungai Petani seat in Kedah is held by PKR’s Datuk Johari Abdul.

Related Articles