Ironic For Ag To Advise Agong On Ex Ec Tribunal S Outcome Lawyer




A lawyer representing an Election Commission member brought before the tribunal to look into allegations of misconduct has claimed that it is ironic how Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who brought the matter against six former EC officers, must now advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on recommendations released earlier today
Counsel K Balaguru, who acted for his brother K Bala Singam (one of the retired EC officers), said they accept the majority three-two recommendation made for the tribunal to not proceed with the hearing of 13 allegations of misconduct committed during the 14th general election on May 9, last year
"As far as we are concerned, that's the decision of the tribunal. They then have to report to the Agong, not even the prime minister
"It is then up to the attorney-general, as adviser to the king, to advise the king on what ought to be done. So you see the irony of it?" he told reporters when met after the tribunal session held at the Asian International Arbitration Centre in Kuala Lumpur
"The attorney-general is initiating it; now the recommendations will go to the king, and under our constitution the king is the main client, so to speak, of the AG
"So, now it is up to the AG to go and tell the king what to make out of this tribunal's recommendations," said Balaguru who insisted that the final decision should be in the hands of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and not the prime minister
"We accept the decision but now we will wait and see what His Majesty does, not the prime minister," he added
Tribunal chairperson retired Federal Court Judge Steve Shim earlier said that it would be an "exercise in futility" for the panel to proceed with its hearing, particularly as the government had already achieved the aim of removing the EC officers from their positions
Tribunal members Zaleha Zahari and Suriyadi Halim Omar concurred with Shim's views to make up the majority recommendation
Two other panel members who dissented, Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha and Prasad Sandosham Abraham, recommended that the panel proceeds with its set mandates
In a joint statement, lawyers Shaharudin Ali and Mohd Khairul Azam Aziz, on behalf of four former EC members, also welcomed the move to not proceed with the hearing
"It is interesting to note that the tribunal's decision was not a unanimous one
"Three of the tribunal's panel member decided that it would be an 'exercise in futility' to proceed to try the respondents since they no longer hold office," they noted
"We thank all members of the tribunal for their scholarly and reasoned decisions," they added
The two lawyers were acting on behalf of Othman Mahmood, Md Yusop Mansor, Abdul Aziz Khalidin and Sulaiman Narawi.In August last year, election watchdog Bersih had submitted a report to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on alleged misconducts committed by the EC officers before and during the general election
Bersih's report prompted the government to set up the tribunal. - Mkini

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