Hulu S'gor polls: Zaid files election petition

PETALING JAYA: PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim today filed an election petition to declare the Hulu Selangor by-election results null and void because of widespread bribery.
His lawyer Malik Imtiaz said the petition was filed at the Shah Alam High Court under Section 32(a) and 32(c) of the Election Offences Act 1954 at 11am.

It was filed on the grounds that the BN candidate P Kamalanathan had “directly or indirectly” known about offers made by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the campaign.

Najib made those promises to allegedly entice Hulu Selangor voters to cast their ballots in favour of the ruling coalition.

The former law minister was defeated by BN's Kamalanathan with a majority of 1,725 votes in the April 25 parliamentary by-election.

Zaid said the by-election campaign was the "dirtiest” he had encountered and blamed his defeat on “vote buying”.

Zaid said at a press conference at his home in Tropicana Golf & Country Resort that the petition was filed to make political leaders accountable under the law.
Focusing on Najib's promises
Zaid's lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said: "We are focusing on Najib's promises, which includes, the RM3 million (to the SRKJ (C) Rasa) and the offers to Felda settlers inthe petition."

Najib also promised RM160,000 to former settlers of Sungai Buaya Felda scheme for every acre of land developed, and RM50,000 be given to the next-of-kin of those settlers upon their deaths. He also pledged RM300,000 to SRJK(C) Kalumpang upon BN's win.

The petition names Kamalanathan, the Election Commission and the returning officer, Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan as respondents.

Kamalanathan is expected to be represented by his personal lawyer, while the Attorney General is expected to represent the other two respondents, he added.

"While we appreciate that Najib is the prime minister of the country, he is also the Umno chairman and the Finance Minister. In what capacity did he make those statements is for the courts to decide," said Malik.

Malik said the petition would be more a matter of law than a matter of the facts and most of the Najib's speeches had been reported and videos are online.

"In our view, this is a very important case, it's an opportunity for the court to make a decision and say what exactly is termed 'free and fair' elections.

Zaid pledges to help the poor in Hulu Selangor
Another of Zaid's lawyer, Nazhar Azizan, said:"it is also an opportunity for the courts to define the ambit and purview of Section 32(a) and 32(c) so as to make clear what 'corrupt practices is, and what bribery is in so far as the Election offences act is concerned."

Other lawyers representing Zaid are Leong Sher-How, Gobind Singh Deo, Ang Hean Leng and Sreekant Pillay.

When asked on the status of his impending suit against the EC and Utusan Malaysia, Zaid said that would be announced in a couple of weeks.

"That is chapter two and three. Now we are still at chapter one. Those other suits will have a different team of lawyers," he said.

On another matter, in response to a reader's letter in FMT urging Zaid to look into the poverty situation in Hulu Selangor, he will do his best to help.

"I'm aware of the poverty problem in Hulu Selangor and am very honoured that people are coming to me directly for help.

"I will have to go down to see what is the actual situation and find a way to help the poor," said Zaid.

He, however, pointed out that his powers were very limited as he holds no government or state posts currently.

"I'm only a private citizen but I will try to find a way to help," said Zaid, who again said he was touched by the people's confidence in him although they have a new MP in Kamalanathan.

FMT
24/05/10

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