Rembau election petition struck out (updated)

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Jun 2008

SEREMBAN: The High Court here struck out an election petition challenging the outcome of the Rembau parliamentary seat won by Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin in the March 8 polls.

Judge Datuk Mohtaruddin Baki on Wednesday dismissed the petition with cost, saying that there were too many defects in the petition filed on April 25 by PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as the blogger “Chegu Bard".

"There were many allegations made .... For me, all the petitioner was doing was to cast his net wide enough hoping to strike something," he said in his ruling.

Khairy had polled 26,525 votes in the election, defeating Badrul with a 5,746-vote majority.

Khairy was making his electoral debut while Badrul had contested for the Rantau state seat in 2004 and lost.

Mohtaruddin said the petitioner had also failed to prove that any alleged irregularity by the Election Commission or its agents could have changed the outcome of the election.

"It is not enough for you to say that there was an irregularity. The petitioner, in this instance, had failed to prove that the alleged irregularity could have changed the election result.

“These twin requirements are a must ... For me, the petitioner failed to provide evidence to sustain any of the allegations he had made,” he said.

Badrul had named Khairy and the Election Commission as the first and second respondents in his petition.

He said the petitioner failed to comply with the mandatory requirement of rule 4(4) of the Election Petition Rules 1954 on the basis that it did not have any grounds as required under Section 32 of the Election Offences Act 1954.

(Section 32 among others states that an election result can only be annulled if there was bribery, intimidation, non-compliance of the relevant laws, that the candidate had engaged an agent/canvasser who was ineligible or if the candidate was himself ineligible to contest).

In his petition, Badrul had filed his petition based on four grounds:

* That the total number of ballot papers issued for the parliamentary seat did not tally with the total number of ballot papers issued for the four state legislative assembly seats and the alleged discrepancy was 745 ballot papers;

* That there were various irregularities in the issuance and handling of Form 14 (as required in the First Schedule of the Elections (Conduct of Election) Regulations 1981) after the counting process was done;

* That he was not given a copy of Form 15 (as required under the First Schedule of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) regulations 1981) on the number of postal votes received by the candidates, and;

* That the Election Commission agents had failed to ensure Khairy and his agents adhered to all rulings pertaining to the elections.

Badrul was represented by four lawyers led by M. Sivananthan while Datuk Shafee Abdullah was the lead counsel for Khairy. Senior Federal counsel Mohamad Al Saifi Hashim had appeared on behalf of the Election Commission.

Mohtaruddin said the petitioner had also failed to submit three copies of the petition to the court registry as per the rule. Only one was submitted.

"Also, the petitioner did not mention what he wanted to have declared in his petition. That is also non-compliance with the relevant laws," he said.

When met later outside the court, Badrul said he had decided to contest in Rembau to expose the alleged wrongdoings and corruption involving Khairy, the Prime Minister and his father-in-law Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the premier's son Kamaludin Ahmad.

Sivananthan said his client may appeal the decision.

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