Mas Ermieyati remains Masjid Tanah MP, apex court rules

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin remains Perikatan Nasional MP for Masjid Tanah after the Federal Court dismissed Barisan Nasional candidate Abdul Hakim Abdul Wahid's appeal to nullify her victory in the 15th General Election (GE15).

A three-member bench comprising Justices Tan Sri Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais held Wednesday (Feb 28) that the Election Court judge was not wrong in his finding when dismissing Abdul Hakim's election petition.

Reading out the decision, Justice Nallini said the appellant's counsel submitted that the Election Court judge had fallen into error in failing to infer from the available evidence that there was an offence of bribery under Section 10(a) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

ALSO READ: High Court dismisses petition, Mas Ermieyati remains Masjid Tanah MP

"However, the counsel for the respondent (Mas Ermieyati) contends otherwise. The pivotal point turns on the term ‘induce any elector or voter to vote or refrain from voting’.

"We were urged to infer that inducement within the meaning of Section 10(a) can be deduced from the mere act of money being given to a voter post-voting, without more.

"We make it clear that we find any act of monies being handed out for votes or the like, as being abhorrent and something no court would condone in any event,” she said.

Justice Nallini further said Section 10 (a) expressly requires evidence of inducement, meaning that the voter has to be persuaded or led to vote or not vote by some act or promise of money or other consideration.

"In this appeal, there is no evidence of the voters being persuaded or influenced or induced to vote or not to vote or to vote in any particular manner.

"There is no extrinsic evidence from which such inducement can be inferred,” she said.

Justice Nallini also questioned if the act of paying money to voters had any influence on their decision to vote, given that the voters had already voted and were not promised payment or aware of any money being distributed.

ALSO READ: Election Court upholds Mas Ermieyati's Masjid Tanah seat win

"Put another way, in the absence of any evidence of a promise of money or other consideration at any time, present or future, preceding the act of voting, can it be said that the voter was induced to vote by the respondent or its agent?

"We do not think so. This is because the Act itself requires the element of inducement to be made out. There can be no bribery under Section 10(a) without the element of inducement being established,” she added.

On Oct 27, the Election Court in Melaka affirmed Mas Ermieyati's GE15 victory.

Election Court judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar turned down the election petition filed by Abdul Hakim after deciding that the petitioner failed to prove the existence of corrupt elements during the GE15 campaign.

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

Mas Ermieyati won the seat with a majority of 4,411 votes in a four-cornered clash against Abdul Hakim, Mutalib Uthman (Muda) and Handrawirawan Abu Bakar (GTA-Pejuang). – Bernama

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