KUCHING, 24 Sept 2008: The Election Court today dismissed with costs a petitition challenging the election of DAP vice-chairman Chong Chieng Jen as the Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament (MP) in the March 8 2008 general election.
In dismissing the petition, Justice Datuk Clement Allan Skinner declared that Chong, 37, was duly elected as the Bandar Kuching MP as no corrupt practice had been proven to have been committed by him or with his knowledge and consent as alleged by voter Kho Whai Phiaw, 64.
In the first case of its kind in Sarawak, where a voter had brought a civil action against a winning MP, he ruled that none of the five charges – four relating to alleged use of undue influence and one to alleged bribery of voters to procure his victory – was proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Chong garnered 22,901 votes to defeat Barisan Nasional candidate Sim Yaw Yen with a 9,952-vote majority for the seat in the election.
Kho had sought to nullify the election result on the grounds that Chong had interfered or attempted to interfere with the free exercise of the electoral rights of the voters, contrary to Section 9(1) of the Election Offences Act.
A total of 15 witnesses testified at the hearing which lasted 25 days starting 2 July 2008.
In his 56-page judgment, Skinner said Kho had failed to relate the complaints with the provisions of the election laws, thus rendering the election petition so fundamentally defective that it should be dismissed on this ground alone.
He also questioned the reliability of some witnesses’ evidence, including that of Merdict Jukai Empaka, a voter who had admitted that he “came to court to lie” by saying that he refrained from voting because he was induced or influenced by what was stated in the Sarawak DAP manifesto. — Bernama