Friday, August 8, 2008

Court dismisses election petition for three state seats - Star

IPOH: Aug 8, 2008 By SYLVIA LOOI

The High Court here has dismissed the election petitions filed to strike out the election results of Kuala Sapetang, Kuala Kurau and Lubok Merbau state seats.

Election judge Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim struck out with costs the petitions challenging the results of the three constituencies.

Petitioners See Tean Seng, Mohd Salleh Mat Disa and Datuk Jamal Nasir Rasdi, who stood under the Barisan Nasional ticket and lost in the battle for the state seats of Kuala Sapetang, Kuala Kurau and Lubok Merbau, respectively.

In dismissing the petition of Kuala Sapetang, Wan Afrah agreed with the Senior Federal Counsel that by allowing a person to push an incapacitated person on a wheelchair into the polling station is in accordance with the elections regulation.

The regulation, she said, allowed a relative of the incapacitated voter to enter the station with the voter, without the need to put in the request in writing.

"It also allows the relative to mark the ballot paper of the incapacitated voter in the manner dictated by the said person," she said.

She added that the fact the voter was present before the presiding officer in an incapacitated state with her relative was sufficient.

Wan Afrah noted that the petitioner failed to elaborate how one vote could have affected the result of the election as Tai Sing Ng of PKR had won by a 564-vote majority over See.

On claims by See that a ballot paper was intentionally inserted into a pocket containing rejected ballot papers, Wan Afrah said the facts and grounds were insufficient to support that it was the duty of the postal voter to return his vote to the correct returning officer.

"There are no provisions to make it a duty of the returning officer to return the wrongly channelled votes to the correct returning officer," she said, adding that the decision of the presiding officer whether to reject any ballot papers was final.

"Even if there is non-compliance with the related law, one ballot paper will not affect the result of the election," she said, adding that See also failed to identify the person who committed the alleged corrupt practices and to link it to Tai.

On the Kuala Kurau case, Wan Afrah said the act by agents of PKR's Ab Yunus to solicit for votes, persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or loiter within 50m of the polling station could not fall within the conduct of any election.

"The acts are allowed in election but they only become an offence if on polling day they are carried out within 50m of a polling station," she said.

As for the three persons wearing yellow T-shirts as alleged by Mohd Salleh, Wan Afrah said there was nothing to show how their presence had affected the result.

On the Lubok Merbau case, Justice Wan Afrah said Jamal Nasir failed to show that Mohd Zainuddin Mohd Yusof of PAS had committed an offence.

Besides failing to highlight the specific offences allegedly committed by the Mohd Zainuddin, Wan Afrah said Jamal Nasir also failed to identify the person who had allegedly committed the corrupt practices and that they were committed in connection with the election.

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