Tian Chua free to contest in any election after High Court ruling

Chua Tian Chang speaks at the 13th PKR National Congress in Shah Alam November 18, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Chua Tian Chang speaks at the 13th PKR National Congress in Shah Alam November 18, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang, or Tian Chua, as he is popularly known, is now free to contest in any election, after the High Court declared the Election Commission’s (EC) decision barring him from contesting in the 14th general election as unjust and equitable.

The Edge reported that the High Court judge, Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya, had made the ruling.

The business daily quoted the former Batu MP’s lawyer, Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar telling reporters that the EC’s decision to reject Chua’s nomination in the run-up to the GE14, was unlawful.

“This is based on his two convictions (which) had not resulted in his disqualification to contest in any election.

“It was unfair for the EC to reject his nomination. As a result of the EC’s decision last year, he lost his pension but now it is being restored,” Gurdial reportedly said, adding that this was why Justice Mariana had delivered the said verdict.

The Edge also reported Gurdial saying that today’s decision also means that Chua can be made a senator.

On April 28, Chua was disqualified from contesting the Batu parliamentary seat, based on the grounds of his RM2,000 fine imposed by the Shah Alam court in March last year.

Under Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, an elected representative is disqualified if he is sentenced to more than 12 months’ jail or fined more than RM2,000.

The returning officer for the Batu parliamentary seat sought to disqualify Chua on grounds of a conviction under Section 509 of Penal Code, which carried an RM2,000 fine.

Chua then filed originating summons to seek a court declaration that he was indeed eligible to contest in the general election and by-elections.

National news agency Bernama reported that Chua also sought a declaration that it was unfair to deny his eligibility and right to contest in elections.

According to the report based on his supporting affidavit, Chua had claimed that he was qualified to do so according to Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution.

Chua reportedly said that the decisions with regards to his cases at the Kuala Lumpur High Court and Shah Alam High Court, which saw him being fined him RM2,000 each over two offences, were clear that his eligibility to contest in elections was not nullified by the decisions.

He reportedly added that the then Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had also made an announcement that his status as an MP remained unaffected and had not received any objections about it.

Chua was initially dropped as PKR’s choice for Batu, only to be included in the eleventh hour after some party leaders and supporters reportedly lobbied for Chua’s reinstatement.

The PKR leader was originally fined RM3,000 in default three months’ jail by a Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for insulting the modesty of a policeman with vulgar words.

His fine was eventually reduced to RM2,000.

Chua won the Batu seat in 2008 and 2013 polls, increasing his majority in the latter year to 13,284 from 9,455.

P. Prabakaran, a 22-year-old law student who contested as an independent candidate against Chua, was later made PKR’s front-runner for the parliamentary seat to replace the latter, after being endorsed by Pakatan Harapan.

He went on to win the seat with a 24,438-majority over Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Dominic Lau Hoe Chai, emerging as the country’s youngest MP.