PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Federal Court here on Monday (Feb 18) remitted three election petitions involving the Kimanis, Sipitang and Jasin parliamentary seats back to the Election Court for trial.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk David Wong Dak Wah who chaired a five-man bench made the ruling after allowing an appeal by Karim Bujang, who is Parti Warisan Sabah's candidate for the Kimanis parliamentary seat, to challenge the victory of former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Justice Wong said the panel held that the appellant had complied with the Election Petition Rules 1954 in filing the election petition and ordered Anifah to pay costs of RM50,000 to Karim.
"We allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court (Election Court)," he said and set this Wednesday for mention of the case.
He also granted the application by lawyer Frederick Chang Tyn Chi, who acted for Karim, for the trial to be heard before a new judge.
On Nov 19, 2018, the Election Court in Kota Kinabalu struck out Karim's election petition against Anifah, the returning officer and the Election Commission after allowing Anifah's application to strike out the petition.
The panel, which included Federal Court judges Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Rohana Yusuf, Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan unanimously made the ruling after hearing submissions by lawyers Ansari Abdullah and Tengku Ahmad Fuad Tengku Ahmad who were representing Anifah, and Chang who acted for Karim.
Anifah won the Kimanis constituency with a 156-vote majority in the three-cornered fight, securing 11,942 votes against Karim and Parti Harapan's Jaafar Ismail, who garnered 11,786 votes and 1,300 votes respectively.
Meanwhile, another Federal Court bench ordered the election petition filed by Warisan candidate Noor Hayaty Mustapha to be remitted to the Election Court for trial.
Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop directed the petition to be heard before another Election Court judge and set Feb 25 for case management.
Noor Hayaty's lawyer, Chung Jiun Dau said the apex court had allowed his client's appeal to set aside the Election Court's decision in striking out her election petition.
Justice Ahmad who presided over the appeal with Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Tan Sri Idrus Harun, ordered Yamani Hafez Musa, the son of former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, to pay costs of RM50,000.
Yamani won the Sipitang parliamentary seat under the Barisan Nasional ticket with a 852-vote majority, defeating his rivals from Parti Warisan Sabah and Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah.
Lawyer Jeyan T.M. Marimuttu appeared for Yamani.
The Federal Court also returned the election petition filed by Pakatan Harapan candidate, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan who contested the Jasin parliamentary seat in GE14 to the Election Court for trial.
A five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum allowed Khairuddin's appeal to remit the case for hearing of the merits before a new Election Court judge.
In October last year, the Election Court dismissed Khairuddin's petition after allowing a preliminary objection raised by Barisan candidate Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah.
In allowing the appeal unanimously, Justice Malanjum said the court accepted the two grounds submitted by Khairuddin's counsel, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.
The court agreed with Sri Ram that the petition was properly filed in the Election Court in Kuala Lumpur and that Khairuddin had pleaded sufficient particulars in his petition.
Justice Malanjum said, "We will write our full grounds later." He set this Friday for mention of the case.
The Chief Justice also ordered Ahmad Hamzah to pay RM20,000 in costs.
Election Court judge Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali had dismissed Khairuddin's petition on grounds that the petition should be filed at the Malacca High Court, the place where the election was held and not in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Khairuddin lost to Ahmad by 219 votes in GE14. Ahmad garnered 26,560 votes while Khairuddin received 26,341 votes and PAS candidate Abd Alim Shapie, 8,860 votes.
Khairuddin, the former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief, filed the election petition in June last year under Section 34(C) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
He sought a declaration that the result for the Jasin parliamentary seat in GE14 was null and void, claiming that the BN politician was unlawfully elected and that a fresh election should be held.
Lawyer Datuk Wira Mohd Hafarizam Harun represented Ahmad, while lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin appeared for returning officer Zamrud Yahya and the Election Commission (EC). – Bernama
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