(© Badly Drawn Dad / flickr)
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s the season for by-elections, and Pensiangan (P182) could make it five since last year’s general election when the court makes its ruling this week.
The High Court had ruled last September that the election of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to the Sabah seat was null and the case has been appealed.
Kurup was declared the winner of the seat without a contest on nomination day for the 8 March elections when the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of three other candidates on grounds of late submission.
One of the candidates whose nomination papers were rejected, Danny Anthony Andipai of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), subsequently filed a petition to declare Kurup’s election invalid.
In his petition, Andipai named Kurup as the first respondent and returning officer Bubudan Majalu as the second respondent.
High Court judge David Wong Dak Wah, sitting as an Election Court judge, ruled that Majalu erred when he overturned a directive by the Election Commission (EC) to accept Andipai’s nomination papers.
The Federal Court is scheduled to make a ruling on Kurup’s appeal on Friday, 13 Feb 2009.
If the Federal Court upholds the High Court’s findings, this could be the fifth by-election since 8 March 2008. On Monday, 9 Feb, two seats were left vacant following the death of Bukit Gantang Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum and the resignation of Bukit Selambau assemblyperson V Arumugam.
Both by-elections should be held within 60 days from Monday, and the EC has called for a special meeting on Friday to discuss the dates for the two by-elections.
The country saw its first by-election of the year (second since 8 March) in Kuala Terengganu last month (January 2009) following the death of former deputy minister of education Datuk Razali Ismail last year. The first was at Permatang Pauh last August.
Pensiangan is a rural parliamentary seat with about 19,712 voters of mainly ethnic Murut with two state seats — Nabawan and Sook. The seat comprises 85% non-Muslim bumiputera, 12.1% Muslim bumiputera and 1.5% Chinese [Malaysian] voters.
Nabawan is currently held by Upko’s Datuk Bobbey Ah Fang Suan while Sook was won by PBRS’ Datuk Ellron Alfred Angian at the last general election.
Since the election petition for Pensiangan was filed last April, both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional have stepped up their activities there.
While PKR’s vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan now has a service centre in Nabawan, a host of government programmes have also coincidentally reached Pensiangan.
On Monday, Education Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein together with Astro launched a free satellite television service targeted for government-run schools at SMK Nabawan II.
On 3 Feb, rural and regional development deputy minister Kurup announced federal government plans to build the constituency’s first government hospital in Nabawan.
In November last year, works minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad said the ministry had approved an RM11 million allocation for preliminary studies and consultancy services to identify development projects in Pensiangan.
Nabawan currently has five health clinics — Salong, Sepulut, Pegalungan, Pensiangan and Tibow.
In November last year, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad said the ministry had approved an RM11 million allocation for preliminary studies and consultancy services to identify development projects in Pensiangan.
He said the ministry estimated that the projects costing RM430 million would be implemented in the Ninth, 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan.
Projects to be implemented in Pensiangan include the Kampung Menawo, Jalan Sapulut-Salung-Pagalungan-Pensiangan and Jalan Ansip-Dalit roads.
Mohd Zin also approved a RM50,000 allocation for a new jetty at Pagalungan and RM2 million to upgrade Jalan Sapulut-Pagalungan.
This news report first appeared on 11 Feb 2009 in The Edge Financial Daily under the title Pensiangan could be 5th by-election since March 8 polls. Used with permission.