DAILY EXPRESS NEWS
Kota Kinabalu: An Election Court here on Thursday dismissed with costs the election petitions seeking to nullify the election of Barisan Nasional candidates for the Tuaran parliamentary and Kundasang state constituencies.
Judge Datuk Linton Albert held that the petitioners in both cases had failed to prove their respective case up to the required standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.
In dismissing with costs both petitions, the judge declared that Datuk Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing and Dr Joachim Gunsalam were duly returned as the Tuaran Member of Parliament and Kundasang Assemblyman, respectively.
The petition seeking to nullify Bumburing's election in Tuaran was filed by a voter, Lim Ching Ping, while Japiril Suhaimin, an independent candidate, filed the petition against Dr Gunsalam's win in Kundasang.
The petitioners were seeking declarations that the election results in Tuaran and Kundasang, respectively, were void due to various breaches of the Election Offences Act 1954 and Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981. Bumburing, who is Upko Deputy President, won the Tuaran MP seat obtaining 17,645 votes against 11,023 votes garnered by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah Chief Haji Ansari Abdullah.
Independent Ajin Gagah polled 879 votes.
In Kundasang, Dr Gunsalam polled 3,597 votes while Japiril garnered 1,791 votes. The PKR candidate Karim Adam obtained 1,180 votes.
Both cases went into full trial, separately, after the judge had dismissed Bumburing's and Dr Gunsalam's preliminary objections.
Bumburing was represented by counsel Datuk Douglas Primus and Batholomew Jingulam, while Lim's lawyers were Datuk Chau Chin Tang, Haji Ansari Abdullah, Valentino James Tanggar and Mohd Sharif Abdullah. Dr Gunsalam's counsel were Jeyan Marimuttu and Jimmy Chang Yau Chung, while Japiril's counsel were Jacky Lettong and Arthur Bonnie.
The petitioners for the Tuaran petition (Lim) and Kundasang (Japiril) grounded their respective case almost entirely on a scheme for the distribution of cash ranging from RM50 to RM700 to parents of poor school children in schools in their respective constituencies.
The scheme, called Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin (Poor Students Group Trust Fund), established by the Government in 2003, is to render assistance to poor school children.
Linton held that both petitioners did not question the noble intention of the scheme but alleged that the distribution during the March 8, 2008 election was bribery, corrupt practice or illegal under Section 32 of the Election Offences Act 1954.
He said witnesses who testified for the petitioners had established that distribution of cash under the scheme were held in town halls and schools during the elections.
The judge said that the functions were attended by political heavyweights from BN and the candidates (Bumburing in Tuaran and Dr Gunsalam in Kundasang).
He said evidence also established that the candidates did not deliver speeches or distributed cash during the functions but education officers and school authorities were not shy in extolling the virtue of the Government in implementing the scheme and brazen in exhorting the recipients to vote for BN candidates.
Linton further held that the zeal and partisanship displayed by the government officers knew no bounds because they went so far as to suggest to their audience that they should vote for the BN candidates if they wished the scheme to continue. "It was not surprising, therefore, that all the witnesses called to testify said they voted for the BN candidates," the judge said.
The judge said even if the government officers and others who spoke at the functions were agents of the candidates and their exhortations were made with their tacit approval, the element of `bargaining' in what they said must be established to prove the corrupt practice of bribery.
"In those circumstance, I am of the considered view that the element of bargaining has not been established to the required standard of proof," he said. Linton, however, said that it would be laughable for anyone to say that the BN candidates did not gain some advantage from the distribution of cash under the scheme during the campaign period.
"But fairness or the lack of it is not an attribute which features in determining corrupt practice under the Election Offences Act 1954," the judge held. The judge said in the circumstances, there was no reason to declare the elections null and void because several manifestations of bribery, corrupt and illegal practice alleged by the petitioners had not been proven.
Linton then accordingly dismissed the petitions with cost to Bumburing and Dr Joachim, and also declared them duly returned as Tuaran MP and Kundasang Assemblyman, respectively.
Meanwhile, Lim and Japiril, when met by reporters after the proceedings, said he would file an appeal against the court's decision.
PKR telah mencuba segala macam taktik untuk menghadapi PIRU ke -12, walaupun mereka sedar yang kerja mereka itu hanya sia-sia sahaja. Dengan Ketua Perhubungannya berpusat di daerah Tuaran, dia fikir akan menang mudah..!! Kirim salam lerr... biarpun dia dan kuncu-kuncunya berkerja siang dan malam, sampai banjir air liur dan air mata...namun, pengundi-pengundi Tuaran bukannya buta mata dan buta hati macam di Permatang Pauh...., mereka tahu siapa yang boleh membela nasib mereka dan orang itu ialah ADUN Sulaman dan MP Tuaran. Mereka cuba pula di Mahkamah...pun sama juga, lepas ni pi mana lagi.... nak try rampas kuasa dengan pujuk MP-MP BN masuk PKR...., lagi lerr susah!! Kalaulah MP-MP dan ADUN-ADUN BN ni ikut PKR, calon-calon PKR yang kalah bertanding dalam PIRU KE-12 ni mahu di tempatkan di mana..., semua ini ada jawatan-jawatan hebat dalam PKR Sabah. Nak jadi budak suruhan kumpulan yang baru lompat tadi tu...mana jeffrey, ansari dan christina liew mahu.. mereka pun mahu juga pangkat.... jadi bagaimana, ni yang bikin anwar pening pikiaq sekarang ni....
Daripada lompat masuk PR, baik lagi dalam BN... semua sudah ada... sampai giliran, dapat juga apa yang di idam-idamkan... bukannya angan-angan mat jenin macam yong teck lee yang kepingin sangat jadi timbalan perdana menteri dari Sabah... tapi, kerusipun tarak..... begitu juga dengan PKR Sabah, yang ketika ini sudah berliur-liur menunggu 16 sept (kunun).. mahu jadi kerajaan.. kesian durang c labu dan labi ni....
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