Court orders fresh election for Rantau seat

PKR’s Rantau candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy after an earlier court hearing in August. Streram may be allowed to contest the seat as the Election Court has ordered that a by-election be held. (Bernama pic)

SEREMBAN: The Election Court today allowed the petition by PKR candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy for a fresh election to be held for the Rantau state seat in Negeri Sembilan.

Judge Azimah Omar said incumbent assemblyman Mohamad Hassan had not been duly elected.

“A by-election must be held as soon as possible,” she added.

Azimah said there would have been a contest for the seat if Streram had been allowed to file his nomination papers on April 28.

She said there was ample evidence to show that Streram, his proposer and seconder were denied entry to the nomination centre.

“This itself was an act of suppression,” she said, ordering returning officer Amino Agos Suyub to pay Streram costs of RM30,000.

Streram filed the petition on May 23 to nullify the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to declare Mohamad the winner of the Rantau state seat.

He said he was never informed by the EC or its agents that name tags or entry passes were required to gain access to the Dewan Sri Rembau nomination centre.

He said at about 4.30pm on April 27, a friend told him to get the passes at the Rembau district office. He said he arrived there at 6.45pm but the office was closed.

An unidentified woman staff told him he could collect the tags at Dewan Sri Rembau the following day.

Streram said he and his proposer and seconder arrived at the centre at 8am to collect the tags in order to file his papers at 9am.

He said he asked a policeman to call an EC officer from the centre to provide the tags, but none came.

He said Yusof Tapar, the proposer for the opposition candidate contesting the Rembau parliamentary seat, and later the candidate for the Paroi seat, Mohamad Taufek Abdul Ghani, came out of the centre to help him get in. However, both were unsuccessful.

At about 9.40am, two EC officers came out to meet Streram and assured him they were making arrangements to provide the passes. They went back to the centre but did not return.

Agos later declared Mohamad the winner as there was no other contestant for the seat.

Streram said there was no legal requirement for passes to enter the centre, adding that the EC had not informed him about it when he collected the nomination form or when he paid the deposit.

He said the EC had 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 centre.

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