High Court: Disqualification threshold under Article 48(1)(e) of Constitution is RM2,001

It has been reported in the media (‘Judge: Tian Chua did not lose eligibility to contest in election’; The Star, 7 November 2019) that the High Court declared on 6 November 2019 that a person will be disqualified from being a Member of either House of the Malaysian Parliament under Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution if the fine imposed on him by a Court upon conviction for an offence is RM2,001 and above.
The relevant parts of Article 48(1) of the Federal Constitution read –
48. Subject to the provisions of this Article, a person is disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if-


(e)     he has been convicted of an offence by a court of law in the Federation and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than two thousand ringgit and has not received a free pardon;
In addition, regulation 7(1)(c) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981, inter alia, requires a returning officer to reject a candidate’s nomination paper if that candidate is disqualified from being a member of the House of Representatives under the Constitution.
Thus, Article 48(1)(e) of the Constitution read with regulation 7(1)(c) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 not only disqualifies a person from being a Member of Parliament, but also disqualifies a person from contesting in a Parliamentary or State election or by-election.
In light of the interpretation adopted by the learned Judge in respect of the phrase “not less than two thousand ringgit” in Article 48(1)(e) of the Constitution, the High Court granted a declaration sought by Tian Chua, the former Member of Parliament for the Batu Constituency, that he is an eligible person to contest in the general election and by-elections, notwithstanding that Chua had been convicted and fined RM2,000 under section 509 of the Penal Code for insulting a policeman.
For more information on the facts that lead to the above proceedings, please read the section titled RM1,999 < RM2,000 < RM2001: THE MAGIC AMOUNT? in the article here.