The case of Bukit Begunan in Sarawak, where Mr. Justice Ian H.C. Chin declared the election in the Sarawak State General Elections on Sept. 8 and 9 last year as null and void because of excessive money politics and causing a by-election to be held, has highlighted the injustice suffered by the voters of Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency in Kuala Lumpur when they lost the fundamental democratic right to elect the MP of their choice.
When the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled on August 2, 1995 to uphold the MCA election petition to disqualify the duly elected DAP MP for Bukit Bintang, Wee Choo Keong, two important issues were raised:
Large numbers of Malaysians are still aggrieved and offended that Wee Choo Keong should be disqualified as a Member of Parliament for a civil contempt which had no element of criminal offence whatsoever.
But there are even more Malaysians who still feel outraged that the voters of Bukit Bintang should be denied their fundamental right to elect the MP of their choice, and have their MP decided by the court and not by the ballot box, especially as the Bukit Bintang parliamentary contest in the April 25, 1995 general elections was not a straight fight, but a three-cornered battle involving a third candidate.
They very legitimately feel that even if Wee Choo Keong is to be disqualified as MP, the voters of Bukit Bintang should not be “disqualified” from freely and democratically deciding who should be their elected Member of Parliament.
The Bukit Begunan case has not only focussed national attention on the need for drastic amendments to the election laws to ensure that elections in Malaysia are free, fair and clean, but also reminded Malaysians of the grave injustice of the Bukit Bintang case.
The voters of Bukit Bintang should have been given the chance like the people in Bukit Begunan to have a by-election after the decision of the election judge when upholding an election petition challenging the election result.
Many amendments are urgently needed to the election laws in the country - and one amendment arising from the Bukit Bintang case is to ensure that under no circumstances should the voters of a constituency be deprived of their fundamental democratic right to elect the MP or Assemblyman of their choice, and that no election judge should usurp the democratic and constitutional rights of the electorate.