Court rules BN candidate rightful winner of Jasin seat

The Election Court allows a preliminary objection by BN’s Ahmad Hamzah (in black suit) to a petition brought by Parti Amanah Negara’s Khairuddin Abu Hassan. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional candidate Ahmad Hamzah is the rightful winner of the Jasin parliamentary seat in the 14th general election.

This follows the Election Court’s decision to allow a preliminary objection by Ahmad in response to a petition brought by Parti Amanah Negara candidate, Khairuddin Abu Hassan.

Justice Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali said Khairuddin should have filed his petition in the Melaka High Court and not in Kuala Lumpur.

“He failed to adhere to the basic requirement of Article 118 of the Federal Constitution,” he said, adding that this ground alone was sufficent to allow Ahmad’s objection to annul the petition.

The provision in the constitution states that challenges to petitions must be presented to the “High Court having jurisdiction where the election was held”.

Ruzima said that the discrepancy in Form 14, after the votes were cast, did not affect the integrity of the election.

He said Ahmad could also not be faulted for any of the alleged violations of the election law or rules.

“There is merit to allow the preliminary objection,” he added.

He also ordered Khairuddin to pay RM20,000 in costs to Ahmad and another RM5,000 each to the returning officer Zamrud Yahya and the Election Commission.

Khairuddin filed his petition due to alleged discrepancies in Form 14 where some of the documents did not have the signature of the returning officer while others had the signatures of the candidate’s agents.

He also complained that extra ballot papers were issued compared to the number of votes cast.

Ahmad defended the seat with a 219-vote majority in a three-cornered battle.

He polled 26,560 votes, Khairuddin 26,341 votes while Abd Alim Shapie of PAS collected 8,860 votes.

Meanwhile, Khairuddin said he accepted and respected the verdict of the court.

“I will continue to be the coordinator of the Jasin parliamentary seat to serve the people there, irrespective of race, religion or political ideology,” he said in a statement.

Khairuddin said he was prepared to contest the Jasin seat again if the Pakatan Harapan leadership nominated him.