KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Parti Keadlian Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Tian Chua was on Saturday (Apr 28) disqualified from contesting in Malaysia’s upcoming general election, local media reported.
Chua, the incumbent for Batu in Kuala Lumpur, had his papers rejected on Nomination Day because of a conviction for insulting a police officer for which he was fined RM2,000 (US$510), the Sun Daily reported.
He has held the seat for the past two terms, winning in 2008 and 2013.
The seat will now see a four-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional candidate Dominic Lau from Gerakan, Parti Islam SeMalaysia’ Al Azhar Yahya and two other independent candidates.
Lau lost to Chua in Batu by a margin of more than 13,000 votes in the 2013 general election.
DECISION "OUTRAGEOUS": LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY
Lawyer N Surendran, who was recently dropped by PKR to defend his Padang Serai seat in Kedah, called the decision to disqualify Chua "unacceptable".
He issued the following statement on behalf of Lawyers for Liberty, a Malaysian NGO:
"Tian Chua's disqualification as Batu candidate is unlawful & outrageous.
“The returning officer purported to disqualify Tian on grounds of a conviction under s 509 of Penal Code which carried an RM 2000 fine.
"The disqualification this morning is unlawful, unconstitutional and liable to be set aside by the court.
"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 for the disqualification to operate. There are various legal authorities confirming this including the Supreme Court in PP v Leong Yin Ming (1993). In another written judgment involving Tian Chua himself in 2010, the KL High Court made a similar ruling.
"In the case relied on this morning by EC to disqualify Tian, Justice AB Karim of the Shah Alam High Court had on 2/3/2018 reduced his punishment to RM 2,000. Hence, the law says he was qualified to contest!
"It is shocking and incomprehensible that the EC's officers were ignorant of the above legal authorities. The disqualification is unacceptable, and is a taint upon the electoral process in the Batu constituency."