PRESS STATEMENT: GIVE REASONABLE TIME FOR COURT HEARING TO HAVE FAIR AND JUST RE-DELINEATION

The Selangor State government had earlier filed an appeal on the discovery application and originally the case management was on 6 July 2017. It was abruptly brought forward to today, i.e., 9 June 2017. At the case management, the lawyers were informed that the Chief Justice has directed for the trial to be fixed on 20 June 2017 – giving the lawyers less than 5 days to file their written submission and to be at the hearing within a week prior to Hari Raya.
 
On the same day, 9 June 2017, there was also the Melaka case management in which the Election Commission had filed an appeal against the judgement made by the Melaka High Court in granting leave and a stay against the EC. The lawyers too faced the same uncompromising directive where the hearing was fixed on 20 June 2017.
 
BERSIH 2.0 demands an explanation as to why these two cases, coincidentally, had dates where the lawyers are unable to request for any changes. It is extremely unusual for the Courts to force the parties to agree or to fix cases on dates where Counsels are not available, especially if there are other cases fix earlier. The Chief Justice must explain why the necessity to rush and to have hearing dates brought forward without any reasons being assigned. The lawyers do require adequate time to prepare for these cases as they have an impact on all Malaysians.
 
BERSIH 2.0 viewed the EC’s conduct of the present re-delineation as unfair and had violated the Federal Constitution as well as election laws. Time must be taken for both sides to present their arguments and for the courts to decide on appropriate actions. There is also no reason to rush as the EC has until August 2018 to finalise their proposals. Why force the courts to have such early dates?
 
As the Election Commission has so arrogantly stated that there was no need to dialogue, especially with BERSIH, court actions become important and viable channels to voice our concerns over unfair re-delineation.
 
Bersih 2.0 urges the Chief Justice and judges of the High Court to uphold the right to a fair trial in the redelineation cases filed in Selangor and Malacca.
 
SIGNED BY,
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee