5:14PM Jan 16, 2014

Election Court again rejects petition over Lubok Merbau



Barisan Nasional (BN) retains the Lubok Merbau state seat after the Election Court in Ipoh again rejected the petition filed by a voter to annul the contest result for the seat in the 13th general election (GE13), with costs.

Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli made the decision after hearing the preliminary objection and submissions by the petitioner Mohd Ridzuan Hasif and three respondents over three days, ending last week.

In his judgment today, Abdul Rahman said the petition was defective while the facts put forward by the petitioner were not explained properly.

He said although the case involved the general election law and principles, the court had no power to hear a petition that did not follow the election petition procedure, while the interpretation was bound by the tight election petition rules.

The judge said the court also had no jurisdiction to continue with the merit of the petition with a full hearing.

The court also ruled that the first respondent, Siti Salmah Mat Jusak from BN, was duly elected as Lubok Merbau assemblyperson.

Abdul Rahman ordered Mohd Ridzuan to pay RM30,000 each to Siti Salmah and the second respondent, the Election Commission (EC).

Lawyer Firoz Hussein Ahmad led the counsel representing Siti Salmah, while senior federal counsel Alice Loke and Norazmi Narawi represented the EC.

Siti Salmah, when met by reporters outside the court, urged that the administration at her service centre, her voters and supporters, and her family not be disturbed any more by certain quarters.

“For eight months, I have not been at peace and I have to spend a lot of money on legal fees.

“In the 2008 general election where the opposition won the Lubok Merbau seat with a 72-vote majority, BN did not dispute it. But in 2013, when we won it by 53 votes, they (opposition) said it was unfair,” she lamented.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ridzuan, when talking to his supporters, said he would be speaking to his lawyers before filing an appeal against the Election Court’s decison with the Court of Appeal within two weeks.

Last Dec 23, the Federal Court ruled that the election petition for the Bagan Datoh parliamentary seat and Lubok Merbau state seat be remitted to the Election Court to hear the merit of the cases after allowing the petitions filed by the opposition.

In the GE13, Siti Salmah defeated PAS candidate Mohd Zainudin Mohd Yusof for the Lubok Merbau seat.