Returning officer barred Streram from nomination centre, says IGP

Top cop Mohamad Fuzi Harun arrives to give evidence at the Election Court.

SEREMBAN: Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told the Election Court today that the directive to stop PKR candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy from entering the nomination centre on April 28 came from the returning officer.

The top cop said he was informed about the matter by his subordinate, the chief police officer (CPO) of Negeri Sembilan.

“The CPO briefed me and said the instruction to stop the candidate for the Rantau state seat came from the returning officer (Amino Agos Suyub),” he told the court.

Fuzi said he was also informed that Streram, his proposer and seconder were prevented from filing the nomination papers as they did not have the entry passes issued by the Election Commission (EC).

He said there was an understanding between the EC and the police that the latter was only to provide security during the nomination process.

He added that the decision to allow or bar a candidate, proposer or seconder from entering the nomination centre was the sole prerogative of the returning officer.

“If the returning officer says no, the policemen on duty will not allow any of them to enter the nomination centre.”

During the cross-examination by lawyer Mohamed Hafarizam Harum, Fuzi said he was also told that no other candidate for the Rembau parliamentary seat or any other state seat within the constituency was barred from entering the nomination centre.

Hafarizam is appearing for Mohamad Hasan, the former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar who won the Rantau seat unopposed.

When further cross-examined by Sathya Kumardas, the lawyer appearing for the EC and the returning officer, Fuzi said the police had attended a briefing before nomination day.

“We were told that only those with entry passes could go into the nomination centre,” he added.

He agreed with Sathya that he had no personal knowledge of what had happened outside the Dewan Sri Rembau nomination centre, and that his information was based on the briefing and report by the CPO.

He added that he had no knowledge about the investigation by the district police following a report by Streram.

Last Thursday, investigating officer Inspector Azizul Mohd Zakaria told the court that Agos and his assistant Daing Muhammad Rahimi Abdul Hamid knew that Streram had been at the nomination centre since early morning to file his papers.

Azizul said he came to that conclusion after recording statements from 27 people.

“They included policemen, EC staff, election agents as well as Pakatan Harapan candidates,” the seventh witness for Streram said.

The police officer also said there were no laws which barred a candidate or his agent from submitting nomination papers without a pass.

Streram filed his action on May 23, claiming the EC had denied him the right to contest the Rantau seat in the May 9 general election.

He sought a declaration by the Election Court that Mohamad’s victory was illegal, and that a by-election be held.

He said the EC breached provisions in the Election Offences Act 1954 and regulations when its officers did not order the police to allow him, his proposer and seconder into the nomination centre.

As a result, he said, although he was qualified, he was denied the constitutional right to contest in the election.

Agos is expected to testify before justice Azimah Omar tomorrow.