Kuala Kangsar election petition dismissed

Athi Veeranggan

Jul 4, 08 — The Ipoh High Court today dismissed an election petition that challenged the victory of former minister Rafidah Aziz in the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary constituency.
Election Judge Zakaria Sam ruled that Rafidah’s “silly mistake” in failing to sign two out of three sets of her nomination papers in the March 8 general election was not a proper reason to nullify the final outcome.
He added that the election for the seat proceeded freely, fairly and without any corrupt practices.
“Her presence at the nomination centre to submit her papers was enough to prove her consent to accept the nomination to contest,” he said.
Since signing and submitting nomination papers were merely part of an electoral process, he said Rafidah’s mistake was unsubstantial for the election officer to neither reject her candidacy nor stop the election process.
Moreover, the petitioner did not mention any other wrongdoings like corrupt practices in his affidavit, other than on the ‘missing signature’, he added.
He said non-compliance to the requirement to sign all three nomination papers would not have affected the election results anyway, stressing that “it was a mere technical error.’
“It was a silly mistake by the candidate (Rafidah) but it was not an obstacle or hindrance for having the election,” said Zakaria.
The former international trade minister was not present in the court for the verdict.
Rafidah not awarded costs
kuala kangsar parliamentary seat 040708However, he refused to grant costs to Rafidah, saying that her silly mistake had resulted in the petition being filed and brought up to court for hearing.
“If not for the respondent’s (Rafidah) silly mistake, this case would not have been brought before me, and I need not sit here to determine whether the respondent was duly elected or not.
“Therefore I am dismissing this petition without cost,” the judge told a packed court room.
The petition was filed by voter Ahmad Jamaluddin Abd Majid who had named Rafidah, returning officer Mohd Ghazali Jalal and the Election Commission as respondents respectively in the petition filed by businessman.
Rafidah had contested against Perak PAS deputy commissioner Dr Khairuddin Abd Malik for the seat.
In the election, Rafidah retained her seat by polling 10,735 votes. Khairuddin got 9,277 votes.
Kubu Gajah petition dismissed too
Rafidah’s ex-political secretary Saharuddin Mohd Toha , who was at the court as an observer on behalf of the MP, was a relieved man after hearing Zakaria’s decision,
“At least the ruling proved that my former boss was elected in a free and fair manner,” he told reporters.
Earlier, justice Zakaria also dismissed with cost a separate election petition challenging the results of Kubu Gajah state constituency, under the Larut parliamentary constituency, on ground of technicality.
Filed by defeated PAS candidate Mohd Nazri Din, the petition sought a court order to declare the Kubu Gajah election results as null and void, claiming corruption and malpractices by the winnng BN candidate Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar.
Mohd Nazri had claimed that Raja Ahmad, who won the seat by 66 votes, had made election promises of ‘you give your vote to BN … BN will give you anything you want’ (undi kasi BN menang, apa apa you minta BN boleh kasi) in several instances to voters of Kubu Gajah.
Raja Ahmad was also claimed to have handed out packets of rice to the voters.
rafidah aziz kuala kangsar parliament seat court case 040708 respondant lawyersHowever, Zakaria said the petition was flawed because “the petitioner failed to show proof in his affidavit that the named residents were registered voters of the constituency.”
Lawyers Mohamed Hanipa, Aminuddin Zulkipli and Zulmi Sabri represented both petitioners while Mohd Hafarizam Harun, Syed Faisal Syed Abdullah, Abu Bakar Mohd Sidek, Badrul Hishah Abdul Wahap and Mohd Adli Ithinin were counsel for both Rafidah and Raja Ahmad.
Federal counsels Amarjeet Singh Serjit Singh, Andi Razalijaya A Dadi and Nurul Farhana Khalid appeared for the election returning officer and EC.