KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — The Election Court today decided to nullify Terengganu PAS committee member Che Alias Hamid’s 15th general election (GE15) victory in the Kemaman parliamentary seat in Terengganu.
Lawyer Amin Othman, who represented petitioner Wan Mohamad Hisham Wan Abdul Hamid, confirmed that his client won the election petition which challenged Che Alias’s GE15 win.
“The Election Court has decided this morning that YB Che Alias’s election as the Kemaman Member of Parliament elected during GE15 is nullified and void,” Amin told Malay Mail when contacted.
According to Amin, the election judge Datuk Anselm Charles Fernandis had accepted his client’s allegations that there had been bribery in several official events of the Terengganu state government through the distribution of i-Belia and i-Siswa aid funds to voters during the GE15 campaign period to garner votes for Che Alias.
Amin told Malay Mail that the election judge’s decision was based on Section 32(c) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
Under Section 32, the election of a candidate shall be declared void on an election petition, if any of five situations are proven to the election judge’s satisfaction.
Under Section 32(c), if it is proven to the election judge’s satisfaction that “a corrupt practice or illegal practice was committed in connection with the election by the candidate or with his knowledge or consent, or by any agent of the candidate”, the candidate’s election — which was challenged via an election petition — shall be declared void.
Amin said the election court also ordered Che Alias to pay costs of RM30,000 to Wan Mohamad Hisham.
Under the Election Offences Act 1954, the election judge will have to certify his decision to the Election Commission (EC) within 14 days of his decision.
When contacted by Malay Mail, Che Alias’s lawyer Yusfarizal Yussoff confirmed that the election petition was decided in Wan Mohamad Hisham’s favour.
Yusfarizal confirmed that the decision today can be appealed, but has yet to say if his client will be appealing the decision.
According to national daily Utusan Malaysia, Che Alias’s lawyer Wan Rohimi Wan Daud said discussions will be held with his client’s party on whether an appeal will be filed.
Utusan Malaysia also quoted Wan Mohamad Hisham’s lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun as saying that the election judge will inform his decision to the EC on October 3, if there is no application to stay the decision or if there is no appeal against the nullification of the Kemaman seat results by October 3.
Amin told Malay Mail that any appeal against the decision today would have to be filed within 14 days.
Under the Election Offences Act, any appeal against an election judge’s decision can be appealed to the Federal Court within 14 days from the election judge’s decision, with the Federal Court required to decide on the appeal within six months from the date the appeal was presented.
If no appeal is made to the Federal Court at the end of the 14 days, the election judge’s decision in either confirming or nullifying a seat’s results will be final. If there is an appeal to the Federal Court and the Federal Court decides, such a decision will also be final. Subsequently, this would then lead to a by-election if a seat’s election results are nullified.
On January 3, Wan Mohamad Hisham had filed the election petition on behalf of Terengganu Umno to challenge the Kemaman GE15 election result.
In GE15 held on November 19 last year, Che Alias had won the Kemaman seat in a four-cornered fight with 65,714 votes, which gave him a 27,179 vote-majority over Barisan Nasional candidate and Terengganu Umno chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said. Ahmad was the candidate with the second-highest number of votes at 38,535.
In a statement this afternoon, Kemaman PKR communications and information bureau’s Ahmad Nadhir Yob said Kemaman PKR welcomes the election court’s nullifying of PAS’ victory in that parliamentary seat in GE15, claiming that this decision “proves that PAS is proven to have carried out corruption in the last GE”.
Ahmad Nadhir said this will push Kemaman PKR to work harder to fight any form of power abuse by PAS, adding that the culture of corruption cannot be allowed to be part of the culture in Malaysia and must be eradicated.