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… saving public money shouldn’t really be the goal of the Elections Commission (especially one that dumped expensive indelible ink just before the last general elections on a whim). The High Court of Malaya ruled for a new by-election at Kota Siputeh (which, you should note, isn’t chokeful of postal, military voters unlike a certain, recent by-election). The Election Commission went and got a stay against the ruling, pending a ruling by a higher court.

The stay motion by the defendant was already rejected. The Election Commission on the other hand has interest only as the organizer of elections – instead of having its constitutional role inflated into deciding if an election is needed. If it was a PAS assemblyman getting the boot, would the EC give a bother? Unlikely. Bias, or appearance of such, needs to be avoided in order to maintain the integrity of the commision – keeping the commission neutral and limiting its role to executing a writ of elections is the only way to do that.

Judges don’t grant stays to every case that goes on to a higher court for appeals, even when an appeal would be rendered academic otherwise. Judiciary discretion is necessary – the original motion for stay was dismissed because there was no special circumstances that may justify one. Both the commission and the appellate judge granting the stay seem to believe the dispute over Article 51 of the Kedah constitution is particularly compelling – it isn’t. The assemblyman didn’t show up twice without a leave, in contravention of that article – turning up with a medical certificate after the fact doesn’t absolve that.

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