By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid | Malaysiakini
A Johor voter will know on Dec 7 whether he succeeds in his legal challenge over being prevented from casting his vote during the Johor state election earlier this year.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning set the verdict date for the judicial review by Tamileswaaran Ravi Kumar.
Judge Amarjeet Singh earlier today heard oral submissions from counsel New Sin Yew and senior federal counsel (SFC) Mohammad Al-Saifi Hisham, who acted for the 27-year-old constituent and government respectively.
The issue at contention is whether the Election Commission (EC) officers acted in accordance with the law when preventing Tamileswaaran from voting on suspicion that he may be positive for COVID-19.
On June 8, the voter filed the legal action which named the EC and the government as respondents.
Tamileswaaran is seeking a court order to quash the EC’s decision or action that prevented him from voting during the state polls on March 12 on the grounds that he was still in quarantine after being confirmed positive for COVID-19 back on March 7.
He also applied for a declaration that the EC acted illegally in denying his right to vote and that the commission had violated his constitutional right under Article 119 of the Federal Constitution.
According to Tamileswaaran, he was instructed to undergo quarantine at home after being confirmed positive for COVID-19 and polling day was his sixth day of quarantine.
A day later through a media statement (June 9), Bersih announced that they had facilitated the voter’s legal action after he was allegedly barred from voting in the state polls due to his purported COVID-19 status.
The electoral watchdog argued that the authorities’ move to prevent COVID-19 patients from voting violates their constitutional right.
According to the EC’s procedures for the Johor polls, people suspected of COVID-19 infection are to cast their ballot at a booth separated from other voters. This was if they were showing symptoms of infection.
However, the EC had refused to allow COVID-19 patients to vote if their illness was confirmed prior to turning up at polling stations.
Later on June 22, the court granted leave to Tamileswaaran to proceed with the judicial review, with today being the hearing of the merits of the legal challenge.
Besides Al-Saifi, SFC Nur Aqilah Abdul Halim appeared for the government, while SFC Nik Ahmad Marzuki Nik Mohamad represented EC.
The EC has also set the 15th General Election to fall on Nov 19, with nomination day and early voting fixed for Nov 5 and 15 respectively.