Appeals Court holds election manifesto not legally enforceable
The Court of Appeal held that an election manifesto is not legally enforceable.
Following this landmark ruling, the three-member panel led by Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus struck out a civil suit brought by a group of single mothers who were seeking RM10.9 million in allowances over the Selangor Government's alleged failure to fulfill its 2008 general election manifesto.
The panel, comprising Justices Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim and Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, allowed the appeal by the Selangor Government and Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to set aside a High Court's refusal to strike out the suit.
Justice Hishamudin agreed with the submission forwarded by lawyer A. Vishnu Kumar representing the Selangor Government and Mentri Besar that the manifesto was not a legally binding document.
Vishu had submitted that a person who was aggrieved over the non-fulfillment of an election manifesto cannot seek to enforce the manifesto.
Vishnu said their remedy was of a political one citing English court cases, including one by reknown judge Lord Denning who had pronounced that voters' remedy for non-fulfillment of election promises lies in the ballot box.
Justice Hishamuddin also accepted Vishu's argument that the group could not challenge the matter as their civil suit was filed out of time.
Earlier, Vishu had submitted that the group of 2,020 single mothers should have filed their civil suit within three years from March 2008 but they had filed the suit on Nov 23, last year.
The group led by the Selangor Single Mothers Association chairman Murtini Kasman Saman, were ordered to pay RM1,000 in legal costs to the Selangor government and Khalid.
The group filed the civil suit last year at the High Court in Shah Alam demanding a total of RM10.9mil in allowances due to them as promised by the Opposition pact in its 2008 election manifesto.
They had named the Selangor government, comprising PKR, PAS and DAP, as the first defendant and Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who was the chief executive of the state, as the second defendant in the suit.
They claimed that the pact, after coming into power in the state following the election, kept its promise of coming up with a free water scheme and a RM1,000 reward to each Selangor student who gained admission to university, but reneged on the promise of giving allowances to single mothers in the state.
As such, they demanded that the 2,020 women be paid single mothers' allowance of RM100 a month for 54 months (from April 1, 2008 to Oct 30, 2012), which totals RM10.9mil, and sought costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
On Dec 12, 2011, the Selangor government and Khalid filed an application to strike out the suit.
On Jan 23, this year, the High Court dismissed their (Selangor government and Khalid) application to strike out the suit and ordered the case to go for a trial.
Lawyer Walter Pereira representing the single mothers submitted that the promises in the manifesto had been translated into a contract.