KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau will get to keep his Tuaran parliamentary seat he won with a razor-thin majority in the 15th General Election (GE15).
This was after the Election Court here struck out an election petition filed against the Pakatan Harapan-Upko MP by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who lost the tightly contested seat to Tangau.
High Court judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab delivered the ruling through a virtual hearing on Thursday (March 23).
Bangkuai, who filed the petition last Jan 4, had named Tangau as the first respondent while the Tuaran returning officer and the Election Commission as the second and third respondents respectively.
Bangkuai, who was Kiulu assemblyman, had sought an order from the court to declare the results for the seat void and that Tangau was not duly elected as the Tuaran MP.
Justice Dr Alwi had allowed a notice of application by Tangau as well as the two other respondents’ preliminary objection to strike out the election petition.
Speaking to reporters after the judgement, Nelson Angang, who appeared for Tangau, said, besides declaring his client was duly elected as the MP, the court also struck out the petition with RM20,000 costs for Tangau as well as another RM20,000 for the second and third respondents jointly.
He said his client’s application to strike out the petition as well as the second and third respondents' preliminary objections were allowed.
"Since the election petition had been struck out, the judge also held that the first respondent (Tangau) had been duly elected as the Tuaran MP," he added.
Besides Nelson, lawyers Chua Kuan E and Arthur Borine were also in Tangau’s legal team.
Counsels Datuk Tengku Ahmad Fuad Burhanuddin and Wilson Chang Bangkuai appeared for Bangkuai.
Appearing for the second and third respondents were senior federal counsels Andi Razalijaya A. Dadi and Norfauzani Mohd Nordin together with Federal counsels Safiyyah Omar and Mohd Ashraf Abd Hamid.
Bangkuai had contested under a Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) ticket in a six-way contest for the Tuaran seat in last November’s general polls.
He lost by a 233 vote-majority after obtaining 24,710 votes to Tangau’s 24,943 votes.