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ELECTION OFFENCES ACT 1954 : PARTY WORKERS TAKE NOTE

With general election and polling occurring every four or five years and the occasional by-elections, knowledge and skills regarding election rules and its offences need to be mastered by the select few in the party and party machinery also need to be updated from time to time regarding election regulations and its amendments if any. It is no good to put the blame on others for our ignorance and apathy.

Election petitions for three states dismissed
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IPOH (Aug 8, 2008) : The High Court here today dismissed three petitions by Barisan Nasional seeking to nullify the election results for the Kuala Kurau, Lubuk Merbau and Kuala Sepetang state seats, all of which were won by Pakatan Rakyat candidates in the March 8 general election.

Kuala Kurau and Kuala Sepetang were won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Lubuk Merbau by PAS.

Justice Wan Arfah Wan Ibrahim dismissed with costs the petitions which were filed by the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates, naming the respective winners, returning officers and the Election Commission (EC) as respondents, except for Lubuk Merbau where only the assemblyman was cited.

The Kuala Kurau seat was won by Abdul Yunus Jamahri who defeated Mohd Salleh Mat Disa of Barisan Nasional with a 467-vote majority while Mohd Zainuddin Mohd Yusof beat Datuk Jamal Nasir Rasdi with a 72-vote majority in Lubuk Merbau and Tai Sing Ng won Kuala Sepetang with a 564-vote majority over See Tean Seng.

In striking out the Kuala Kurau petition, Wan Arfah held that an act of soliciting for votes or persuading voters not to vote for a particular party or candidate or loitering 50 metres of a polling station was not and could not fall within the conduct of any election.

She said the impugned acts were allowed in an election but they only became an offence if on polling day they were carried out within 50m of a polling station which is an act of campaigning for votes.

The petitioner, Mohd Salleh, had alleged that Abdul Yunus, in his own name or through his workers or agents was wilfully soliciting, loitering or persuading or attempting to persuade people to abstain from voting within 50m from the limits of the polling station at Sekolah Agama Al-Hidayah, contravening the Election Offences Act 1954.

In the Lubuk Merbau petition, defeated candidate Jamal Nasir claimed that assemblyman Mohd Zainuddin had committed corrupt practice by putting up banners which did not carry the name and address of the printer and publisher and that he had exerted undue influence when his banners and posters blocked those of the petitioner.

However, the judge held that he had failed to show these offences or identify the person alleged to have committed the corrupt practice.

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