GE15 win upheld in court

MELAKA: The Election Court here has affirmed the victory of Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin as Masjid Tanah MP in the 15th General Election (GE15) last year.

Judge Abu Bakar Katar turned down the petition filed by Barisan Nasional candidate Abdul Hakim Abdul Wahid to nullify the victory of the Perikatan Nasional candidate after deciding that the petitioner failed to prove the existence of corrupt elements during the GE15 campaign.

In January, Abdul Hakim filed an election petition, alleging corruption in the form of money and feasts used to lure voters in GE15.

The court ordered the petitioner to pay costs amounting to RM50,000 to Mas Ermieyati as the respondent.

Justice Abu Bakar, in his judgment, said the petitioner relied on two main grounds in the petition, namely the occurrence of bribery by the respondent’s agent on polling day and a feast held on Dec 3, 2022.

“This court is aware that it does not need to take an overly rigid approach to the point of thwarting the intention of the law to maintain the sanctity of the election process,” he said, Bernama reported.

The court also said the respondent did not have knowledge or gave permission to Bersatu Armada chairman Akmal Zahin Zainal Zahir to appear at the premises and offer bribes (if proven) and there was no evidence that showed Akmal Zahin actively or openly attended the campaign at Masjid Tanah to ensure the victory of the respondent.

“Based on the reasons stated by the court, the petitioner failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent or her agent carried out the bribery or feast as claimed in the election petition so that the respondent’s victory in Masjid Tanah can be annulled.

“According to Section 36(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954, the court rules that the respondent had been duly elected as Masjid Tanah MP in GE15,” he said.

A total of 28 witnesses testified at the 13-day trial with three witnesses for the respondent, including Mas Ermieyati, while 10 witnesses appeared for the petitioner.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, who led the team of lawyers on behalf of the respondent, said he was grateful for the decision.

The petitioner was represented by lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun.

On May 2, the Federal Court ordered the election petition for the Masjid Tanah parliamentary constituency to be returned to the High Court for a full hearing after allowing Abdul Hakim’s appeal.

Abdul Hakim appealed against the decision of the Election Court which invalidated his election petition to nullify the victory of Mas Ermieyati who is Masjid Tanah Bersatu head.

In GE15, Mas Ermieyati won with a majority of 4,411 votes in a four-cornered fight after obtaining 25,604 votes.

She defeated Abdul Hakim who obtained 21,193 votes, Muda candidate Mutalib Uthman (7,445 votes) and Pejuang candidate Handrawirawan Abu Bakar (507 votes).

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