KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 – The Election Commission did not deny former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim his right to vote in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, said senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh. Amarjeet said Anwar’s name is still registered in the electoral roll and the EC did not say that he was disqualified as an elector.
Amarjeet informed this to the reporters when approached for updates on Anwar’s lawsuit against the EC. Hearing of the case was held in chambers today before justice Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin. Anwar sued the EC, its former chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and the Malaysian government alleging that they had infringed his constitutional rights by preventing him from casting his vote in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election on May 7, last year.
Amarjeet said Anwar had the right to vote but being in jail, he must apply to the Prison Department to bring him to the polling centre, “but he did not apply to the prison authorities”. Meanwhile, Anwar’s lawyer N. Surendran said the plaintiff’s legal action targeted particularly the statements allegedly issued by Abdul Aziz that Anwar lost the right to vote due to the imprisonment following his conviction.
He briefed the reporters that the issue that Anwar should have sought prison department permission to be allowed to go and vote is not relevant in the legal action. On May 6 last year, Anwar, who is former Permatang Pauh member of parliament, filed an originating summons to seek a declaration on his right to vote as provided in Article 119 of the Federal Constitution.
Besides damages and costs, Anwar, 68, is also seeking an order to compel the defendants to take appropriate action to enforce his right as a voter. In a supporting affidavit, Anwar claimed that on April 30 last year, his lawyer had sent a letter of demand to the EC and Abdul Aziz for confirmation on his eligibility to vote in the by-election, but received no response. Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail sentence at Sungai Buloh Prison for sodomising his personal aide.