Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria said under Section 32(c) of the Election Offences Act 1954, corrupt practices can only be committed by a nominated candidate and the alleged offence by Zahid occured before nomination day.
"Therefore, he (Zahid) was by definition not a candidate on the date the alleged offence was committed," said Justice Arifin who chaired a five-member panel which unanimously dismissed two election petitions filed by PKR candidate Madhi Hasan and voter Azmi Sulaiman.
The panel, also comprising Justices Abdull Hamid Embong, Ahmad Maarop, Hasan Lah and Mohamed Apandi Ali, ordered each petitioner to pay RM25,000 in costs.
Madhi and Azmi claimed that Zahid, who is Home Minister, committed corrupt practices, including vote-buying, and spending above the RM200,000 limit allowed for campaigning.
Madhi alleged that Zahid gave RM100 in cash and five bags of rice with the BN printed logo to each voter.
Azmi accused Zahid of appointing some 24,000 workers with cash payment besides giving away rice.
On Feb 19, Election Court judge Hasnah Mohammed Hashim held that both petitions were invalid and defective.
Zahid polled 17,176 votes to win the Bagan Datoh constituency, in Perak during the 13th general election with PKR’s Madhi obtaining 15,068 votes.
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