Give reasonable time for court hearing: Have fair, just redelineation

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.

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 9 June 2017. At the case management, the lawyers were informed that the chief justice had directed for the trial to be fixed on 20 June 2017 – giving the lawyers less than five 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 Malacca case management in which the Electoral Commission had filed an appeal against the judgment made by the Malacca High Court in granting leave and a stay against the commission. 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 to which the lawyers were unable to request any changes. It is extremely unusual for the courts to force the parties to agree or to fix cases on dates for which counsels were not available, especially if there were other cases fixed earlier.

The chief justice must explain 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.

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Bersih 2.0 views the Electoralal Commission’s conduct of the present re-delineation as unfair and in violation of 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 comission has until August 2018 to finalise its proposals. Why force the courts to have such early dates?

As the Electoral 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.

Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee

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