KOTA KINABALU, 13 March 2009: The Federal Court today overturned the Kota Kinabalu High Court’s decision to nullify the election of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to the Pensiangan seat in the 8 March general election last year.
This means there will be no by-election in the parliamentary seat.
Kurup won the seat unopposed on nomination day after the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of Danny Anthony Andipai of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and another candidate.
He was subsequently appointed Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister. Andipai then petitioned the Election Court to nullify the election result, naming Kurup and the returning officer, Bubudan OT Majalu, as respondents.
The Federal Court, in allowing Kurup’s appeal against the nullification, held that election candidates were responsible for their nomination papers and should abide by the stipulated timeframe.
Therefore, there was no statutory duty of the Returning Officer with regards to candidates’ nomination papers, and the officer had discharged his duty well according to the election laws, said Federal Court judge Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman.
The Federal Court also struck out an appeal by a voter to quash the Election Court’s decision to dismiss her petition challenging the election of the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai as the Api Api state assemblyperson in the general election.
Dr Yee, the Parti Bersatu Sabah deputy president and state resource development minister, won the seat with a 174-vote majority against PKR’s Christina Liew.
The petition was filed by Api Api voter Audrey Karen Barry who claimed that there were elements of corrupt practice or general intimidation by Dr Yee or his agents, including printing and distributing pamphlets containing false and inflammatory statements.
The Federal Court, comprising Appeal Court President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Justice of Malaya Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Nik Hashim heard submissions from both parties on 12 Feb and reserved judgment to today.
Nik Hashim delivered both judgments.
“I feel so relieved. After the Election Court nullified my election as Pensiangan Member of Parliament (MP), I could not do anything as an MP.
“But I am very thankful because the rule of law prevailed and I was given the opportunity to appeal,” Kurup told reporters outside the courtroom.
He said he could now focus on helping the people, especially in the Pensiangan constituency where the rate of poverty was the highest in Sabah.
Kurup also believed that the BN candidates in the upcoming by-elections in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai would win following his victory in court.
PKR’s Andipai, however, said the Federal Court’s judgment had brought him injustice.
“We will see in the next general election. I will challenge him (Kurup),” Andipai said. — Bernama
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