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‘Impossible to win an election petition’

 | June 5, 2013

This is the first of a three-part article on PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli views on the election petitions,why rallies are needed and his hopes for the Pandan parliamentary consistuency

PETALING JAYA: It is almost impossible to win an election petition as the standard of proof is ‘beyond human capacity’, said PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli.

Elaborating on the matter in an interview, Rafizi said that those filing an election petition could so under three categories, namely:

1) being involved in general bribery

2) conduct against electoral procedures

3) if a candidate is caught giving inducement to candidates to skew votes.

Rafizi said that as for general bribery, the party filing the petition should prove that the opposing side had given inducements or intimidate voters to influence their ballots.

“But let’s say if I lost in a place with 1,700 votes, I have to get about 1,000 people to come forward to sign statutory declaration and lodge police reports to back up the allegation.

“It is almost impossible to get 1,000 voters to so do. At most, probably we can get about 10 people to come forward,” he said.

Rafizi added that even if he does manage to bring 1,000 voters, it would be futile as the opposing side could argue that the voters wanted to cast their ballots for the latter anyway.

“Plus, I have to bring in significant amount of voters to prove that the election results could have turned otherwise. If not, the petition will get thrown out in the preliminary stage itself,” said Rafizi.

As for going against electoral procedure, Rafizi said that blackouts during vote tallying, tampered ballot boxes, wrong counting and others could be grouped in that category.

“Again,I have to prove that sufficient number of votes were compromised due to the irregularity that could have turned the results otherwise. If not, the case will not stick,” he said.

He cited an example where the contest for the Balik Pulau parliamentary seat where Pakatan Rakyat agents found an additional 126 votes coming from one stream.

“The case will not stand as the number is not substantial,” said Rafizi.

As for the third category, Rafizi said that it will be impossible for a candidate to be caught giving out money to voters as such works are sub-contracted to third parties.

“In Penang, there were allegations that money was given by some NGOs and even the underworld. When we take pictures or videos, obviously they will not attach the party logo on them.
“In other words, the clause requires us to catch the candidate or his agent red-handed in giving out inducements,” said Rafizi.

On that note, the Pandan MP said that the electoral laws in Malaysia are skewed  to allow and tolerate discrepancies, unless it hits a criticial level that can alter the election results.

“That is why I am not confident we can win the petitions but it is part of the process to push for electoral reforms,” he said.

The PKR leader added that based on history and checks with Bersih and his lawyers, not many election petition was tried in court as many got struck out in the preliminary stage itself.

Rafizi said that he would explain the matter to the public, which he believes would increase the momentum in pushing for more electoral reforms in the system.

Rafizi also said that there is another stumbling block to the election petition, which is the Section 9 (a) of the Election Act 1958, which bars the court from scrutinising the electoral roll.

He said that the Elections Commission (EC) had used the particular clause to protect dubious names in the electoral roll from being challenged in court all this while.

On that note, Rafizi said that PKR had set up a team, headed by constitutional expert Aziz Bari, to look into whether the clause runs ultra vires to the the Federal Constitution.

“All I can say for now is that Barisan Nasional (BN) and the EC is in for a suprise. We are going to challenge and rectify all mistakes done in the electoral role for the past 15 years,” he said.

Next: Why the need to hold rallies


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