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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

> Election petition dismissed

A voter and a Pas candidate today failed in their bids to nullify the Barisan Nasional's victory for the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary and Kubu Gajah state seats in the March 8 general election last year.

The federal Court here dismissed their appeals against the High Court's refusal to nullify the election results for the Kuala Kangsar seat won by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and the Kubu Gajah seat by Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar.

In the general election, Rafidah polled 10,735 votes to defeat Perak Pas deputy commissioner Dr Khairuddin Abd Malik with a 1,458-vote majority, while Raja Ahmad Zainuddin polled 4,114 votes to beat Pas candidate Mohamad Nazri Din by 66 votes.

Rafidah retained her seat for a seventh term after first winning it in 1982.

The appeal was heard before Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Datuk S Agustine Paul and Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

On July 4 2008, Ipoh High Court judge Datuk Zakaria Sam rejected the Kuala Kangsar petition filed by a voter, Ahmad Jamaluddin Abd Majid, who also named returning officer Datuk Mohd Ghazali Jalal and the Election Commission as respondents.

Ahmad Jamaluddin sought to have the election result for the seat declared null and void on the ground that Rafidah did not sign two of the nomination forms as provided for under the First Schedule of the Election (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981.

Zakaria also dismissed the petition for the Kubu Gajah seat filed by Mohamad Nazri, who claimed that Raja Ahmad Zainuddin had committed corrupt practice while campaigning at a house in Kubu Gajah.

In today's judgment, Zulkefli said that Rafidah had consented to be nominated as a candidate despite the absence of her signature in the other two nomination forms.

In unanimous decision, Zulkefli said Rafidah came personally to hand over her nomination papers to the returning officer (RO) and that signified her intention to accept the nomination to contest as a candidate for the constituency.

The judgment was read out by Federal Court Deputy Registrar Maziah Joary Mohd Tajuddin.

Zulkelfi said the supporting documents such as the receipts and the deposit for election campaign materials presented together with the nomination papers were sufficient and cogent evidence that Rafidah consented to her nomination as a candidate for constituency.

He said said the RO had exercised his discretion judiciously in accepting the nomination papers by Rafidah even though she had signed the original nomination form while the other two nomination papers were not signed. The RO then found the defect not to be of a substantial nature.

In Raja Ahmad Zainuddin's case, Paul in his judgment said, Raja Ahmad Zainuddin's promise while campaigning at a house in Kubu Gajah did not amount to a corrupt practice.

In giving the gift, loan or offer, it must be for the purpose of changing the mind of the voters who had been identified, he said.

This was logical as the question of inducing a person to do something  simply could not arise if he had already decided to do the thing, he added.

He said the first complaint which related to a promise made in return for voters was defective as it did not set out the full text of what Raja Ahmad Zainuddin gave.

He said the complaint in the plaintif's petition also did not identify the persons to whom the gift was made.

The judgment was read out by Federal Court Deputy Registrar Surita Budin - Bernama.