PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission has set Aug 17 as the polling date for the Nenggiri state seat in Kelantan.

Election Commission chairman Datuk Seri Ramlan Harun said, at a press conference on Friday (June 28), that early voting will be held on Aug 13 and nomination day has been fixed for Aug 3.

This is after Kelantan state assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah declared the seat vacant on June 19, after its elected representative Mohd Azizi Abu Naim’s Bersatu membership was revoked.

Mohd Azizi, along with five other Bersatu MPs and a Selangor state lawmaker, had over the past year defied their party and declared support for the unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Gua Musang MP was terminated from the party for failing to respond to an official letter requiring him to pledge his loyalty to the party by May 31.

Mohd Azizi also failed in his bid to stop the upcoming by-election, after the High Court dismissed his interim injunction application on Thursday (June 27).

Judicial Commissioner Roz Mawar Rozain dismissed the application after hearing lengthy submissions from both parties in her chambers on Thursday (June 27).

Lawyer Chetan Jethwani, who represented Bersatu, said the court made the decision on the grounds that there was no irreparable harm since Mohd Azizi could still participate in the by-election.

He named Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Kelantan state assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah, and the Election Commission (EC) as defendants.

According to the supporting affidavit, Mohd Azizi contended that an amendment made to Article 10 of the Bersatu Constitution, which said a member’s membership would be terminated when the member supports a political rival, was unconstitutional.

Mohd Azizi was seeking a court declaration that the by-election should not be held by the EC as the seat was still his.