EC to decide on by-election after Sept 22

8 Sept 2008
Beh Lih Yi (Malaysiakini)
The Election Commission (EC) can only decide after Sept 22 whether a by-election will be called for the Pensiangan parliamentary seat, which was declared vacant by an election court today.
The seat, which Barisan Nasional’s Joseph Kurup won uncontested during nominations on Feb 24, was declared vacant by the Kota Kinabalu Election Court. It upheld a petition filed by PKR member Danny Anthony Andipai.
Contacted for immediate comments, EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the commission will only be able to decide in two weeks as to whether a by-election needs to be called.
This is because the election judge is allowed 14 days to notify the EC of his decision. Kurup also has the same period in which to file an appeal with the Federal Court.
“A by-election will (only) be held (immediately) if there is no appeal (by Kurup), so we have to wait until after the 14-day period to decide,” Abdul Rashid told Malaysiakini.
If Kurup does not file an appeal, a by-election will have to be called by the EC within 30 days.
Under election law, Kurup can file an appeal with the federal court within 14 days.
The federal court will then have six months to hear and rule on the case. Its decision is final and cannot be challenged. Should it uphold the election court’s decision, a by-election will have to be called.
Deadline missed
If there is a by-election, it is likely to be the second by-election since the general election on March 8.
The first was concluded on Aug 26 in Permatang Pauh, which was vacated by PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to pave the way for her husband Anwar Ibrahim to return to parliament. He defeated the BN candidate by some 16,000 votes.
In the Pensiangan election petition, Andipai – who intended to run as a candidate – named Kurup, returning officer Bubudan OT Majalu and the EC as respondents.
Kurup, who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president and was subsequently made the deputy rural development minister, won the seat uncontested after Andipai’s candidacy was rejected.
On nomination day, Andipai and another candidate Saimeh Usau had missed the 10am deadline to file their nomination papers.
They however claimed they had been blocked on their way to the nomination centre.