Law Minister: EC decides on eligibility of individuals standing for trial to become election candidates

Wan Junaidi (standing third right) witnesses the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between landowners Chai Soon Foh (seated second left) and Chai Chain Wee (seated second right) with Masjid Darul Ehsan chairman Mohd Afif Abdullah (seated right) and Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat Kuching chairman Hikeni Jamahari (seated left) on the purchase of land for the mosque extension at Kampung Sejingkat.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 4: The decision on whether an individual undergoing court trials related to cases of misconduct, embezzlement and corruption is qualified to contest in any election lies with the Election Commission (EC).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the EC has the right to reject an individual’s application to contest in the election if he or she did not fit the criteria to stand as a candidate.

“If those who are rejected, feel unsatisfied (with EC’s decision), they can bring this matter to the court,” he told reporters when officiating at the handing over of the purchase deposit for the Masjid Darul Ehsan land lot in Kampung Sejingkat here today.

He was responding to Parti Islam Se-Malaysia’s (PAS) Central Ulama Council chief Datuk Ahmad Yahaya who recently proposed that the government tighten the eligibility requirements for candidates to contest in any election including those who are currently on trial in court for cases of misconduct, embezzlement and corruption.

For the record, Article 47 of the Federal Constitution states that anyone may register as an election candidate as long as he or she is a Malaysian citizen aged 18-years-old and above on the day of nomination.

However, the individual will be disqualified if the EC discovers that he or she is either bankrupt, mentally ill, currently a salaried employee in an organisation, a citizen of another country or has pledged allegiance to a foreign country, or have been sentenced to jail for no less than one year or fined no less than RM2,000 without pardon.

At the same time, Wan Junaidi who is also the Santubong MP further said that for any elected representative who is found guilty under any law and had exhausted their appeal in the Federal Court, his or her status is still valid for 14 days from the day of the Court’s decision.

“After 14 days, if the elected representative is given a pardon, he or she will continue to become an MP. Otherwise, the individual will have to end his service as an MP,” he added. — DayakDaily