Tian Chua disqualified from contesting Batu seat

Tian Chua speaks to the press after his disqualification from the race for the Batu parliamentary seat. — Picture courtesy of PKR
Tian Chua speaks to the press after his disqualification from the race for the Batu parliamentary seat. — Picture courtesy of PKR

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — PKR’s Chua Tian Chang has been disqualified from contesting the Batu parliamentary seat, based on the judgment grounds of his RM2,000 fine imposed by the Shah Alam court in March.

“They rejected without elaborating or providing any explanation this is despite the High Court Judge stating in his verdict that a fine of RM2,000 and below does not disqualify one for contest,” Chua’s lawyer Gurmukh Singh told Malay Mail when contacted.

There are now four other candidates contesting the parliamentary seat: Datuk Dr Dominic Lau from BN-Gerakan; Batu PAS chief, Azhar Yahya; and two Independent candidates, P. Prabakaran and Datuk VM Panjamothy.

Prabakaran is a 22-year-old law student while Panjamothy is a former MIC member.

The disqualification drew condemnation from PKR leaders. N. Surendran, a lawyer with the party and former Bagan Serai MP, claimed Chua’s disqualification was “unlawful and outrageous”.

“The disqualification this morning is unlawful, unconstitutional and liable to be set aside by the court,” Surendran said in an immediate response.

“Article 48(1)(e) of the federal constitution provides that disqualification occurs when the punishment is ‘ a fine not less than two thousand ringgit..it is settled law that this means that the fine must be more than two thousand ringgit.”

Under Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, an elected representative is disqualified if he is sentenced to more than 12 months’ jail or fined more than RM2,000.

Surendran said there are legal precedents to discount the EC’s grounds for Chua’s disqualification. This included the case of Supreme Court in PP v Leong Yin Ming in 1993.

This was also reflected in the KL High Court ruling on the former Batu MP’s case in 2010, he added.

Surendran noted that the Shah Alam High Court judge, Justice AB Karim, had on March 2 reduced the PKR leader’s punishment to RM 2,000.

The returning officer for the Batu parliamentary seat purported to disqualify Chua on grounds of a conviction under Section 509 of Penal Code, which carried a RM 2,000 fine.

Chua was initially dropped as PKR’s choice for Batu, only to be included in the eleventh hour after some party leaders and supporters reportedly lobbied for Chua’s reinstatement.

The PKR leader was originally fined RM3,000 in default three months’ jail by a Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for insulting the modesty of a policeman with vulgar words.

His fine was eventually reduced to RM2,000.

Chua won the Batu seat in 2008 and 2013 polls, increasing his majority in the latter year to 13,284 from 9,455.

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