Court strikes out Zaid’s petition

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — The High Court today struck out Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s election petition against P. Kamalanathan in the April 25 Hulu Selangor by-election.

Justice Azahar Mohamed said the petitioner had failed to identify the recipients of the alleged bribes offered by Barisan Nasional (BN).

Azahar stressed that the petition was “fundamentally defective” and the court does not believe that the respondent should respond to “defective charges”.

The petition against Kamalanathan was under section 10(a), 10(c) and 10(e) of the Election Offences Act.

Azahar added that Zaid had failed to provide “substance” or material on the people alleged to have received bribes and how election promises by the respondent had influenced the results.

BN had promised RM3 million to a Chinese school in Rasa and RM160,000 per acre to Sungai Buaya Felda settlers during the by-election.

The former de facto law minister filed the election petition on May 24 alleging that corruption had taken place and wanted the court to declare the outcome of the by-election null and void.

He named Kamalanathan, returning officer Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, and the Election Commission (EC) as the respondents.

Zaid, who is now the PKR Federal Territory chief, was defeated by Kamalanathan in the Hulu Selangor by-election on April 25 by a majority of 1,725 votes.

Subsequent to Zaid’s filing, the MIC information chief had applied to strike out the petition on the grounds that it was scandalous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Kamalanathan was represented by Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun Firoz and Cheng Mai, while Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and Mohd Azhar Mohd Yusof appeared for Nor Hisham and the EC.

Zaid was represented by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, Azahar Azizan Harun, Ang Hean Leng and Leong Sher How.

Outside the courtroom, Kamalanathan expressed gratitude for the ruling and the opportunity to continue serving his constituency.

“I would like to thank my lawyers. I would also like to thank God for his blessing. I am grateful to God for allowing me to continue my struggle in Hulu Selangor. Now, I can finally call myself as the member of parliament for Hulu Selangor,” he said.

His counsel, Mohd Azhar, added that today’s decision could be construed as a vindication of BN and its practice of promising development prior to elections, which has brought about accusations of corruption.