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Court rules fresh election for Rantau state seat

Last Update: 16/11/2018

SEREMBAN, Nov 16 (Bernama) -- The Special Election Court today declared Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s unopposed election as the Rantau state assemblyman in the 14th general election null and void and ordered an immediate by-election.

Judge Datuk Azimah Omar handed down the judgment after having heard the submissions by the lawyers of the petitioner, Dr S. Streram, and Mohamad, the first respondent, as well as the testimonies of 19 witnesses given over 12 days.

She said no election rule states that an electoral candidate, proposer and seconder should have a name tag or pass to submit the nomination form.

“This was acknowledged by the second and third respondents in their written submissions,” she said.

Streram, who was denied entry to submit his nomination form due to the absence of the tag or pass, had named Mohamad, the former menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan, as the first respondent; Rembau parliamentary constituency returning officer Amino Agus Suyub as the second respondent and the Election Commission as the third respondent.

Azimah said that as such, the court allows the petition and rules that Mohamad was not duly elected as the assemblyman for Rantau and that his election is null and void.

“This court orders that a by-election be held immediately for the Rantau state constituency,” she said.

She said the evidence adduced in court suggests that the petitioner could not only enter the nomination centre at Dewan Sri Rembau but was also prevented from doing so some 50 metres away from the hall.

She said the act of preventing the petitioner from entering the nomination centre was illegal and unreasonable.

“This act was clearly contrary to the electoral laws,” she said.

Azimah said prohibiting the petitioner from entering Dewan Seri Rembau to submit the nomination papers was a denial of the right of an eligible person from becoming a candidate in GE14.

“The right to be a candidate and the right to vote are constitutional rights. It also involves giving every voter in the Rantau constituency a choice in electing their representative. When the petitioner was prevented from submitting his form, the voters were denied their right to choose or vote for their candidate. This situation is contrary to democratic practice,” she said.

She said declaring the first respondent the uncontested winner while denying another intending candidate rendered the election for the Rantau state constituency as having no competition.

“If the petitioner had been allowed to enter (the nomination centre) and contest, surely the first respondent will not be declared the uncontested winner because there will have been a competition and the voters would have had a choice,” she said.

Azimah also said that the testimony of the assistant returning officer Daing Muhamad Rahimi was doubtful and dubious, as was the second respondent’s, and that they had both not spoken the truth.

She said the court found that the second and third respondents were negligent in discharging their official duties.

Mohamad, who is UMNO deputy president, won the seat unopposed after Dr Streram, who is an anaesthetist, was prohibited from entering the nomination centre on April 28 because he did not have a pass issued by the Election Commission (EC).

Dr Streram filed the petition on May 23, seeking a by-election for the seat because he claimed that Mohamad’s election is not valid.

In his petition, he also claimed that the EC failed to inform him when collecting the nomination form and making the deposit payment that he has to have a name tag or pass to enter the nomination centre on nomination day.

Dr Streram was represented by four lawyers led by Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla while Mohamad was represented by five lawyers led by Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun.



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