KOTA KINABALU, 28 Aug 2008: The Election Court here today dismissed with costs, a petition challenging the election of former Sabah minister Datuk Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing as the Tuaran Member of Parliament in the last general election.
Justice Datuk Linton Albert also dismissed with costs the election petition challenging the result for the Kundasang state seat which was won by Barisan
Nasional (BN)’s Dr Joachim Gunsalam.
In dismissing the Tuaran petition, Linton ruled that the election was carried out legally with no evidence to suggest fraudulence or corrupt practices, as claimed.
“There is no reason to declare the election void because the manifestations of bribery, corruption and illegal practices alleged by the petitioner have not been proven,” he said.
Bumburing of the BN won the seat with a majority of 6,622 votes, beating arch rival Sabah Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) head Ansari Abdullah and independent candidate Ajin Gagah.
The petition was filed by Ansari’s election agent, Lim Ching Ping.
In his 10-page judgment, Linton said the petition was grounded almost entirely on the distribution of hard cash, ranging from RM50 to RM700, to parents of poor schoolchildren throughout the constituency under a scheme called Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin (KWAPM).
He said the element of “bargaining” was not established, with respect to the act of bribery, to the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
He gave a similar reasoning in dismissing the election petition filed by defeated independent candidate for the Kundasang seat, Japiril Suhaimin.
Japiril, in asking the court to declare that Dr Gunsalam was not duly elected, claimed that at several villages and schools in Kundasang, Dr Gunsalam or his agents had distributed money to poor students under the KWAPM.
Dr Gunsalam won the state seat, garnering 3,597 votes while Japiril secured
1,791 votes. Karim Adam, the PKR candidate, polled 1,180 votes.