Manogaran mulls cross-appeal to disqualify Pahang MB as Jelai rep

DAP’s M Manogaran, who contested for the Cameron Highlands seat in the May 9 general election.

PETALING JAYA: DAP’s M Manogaran is considering filing a cross-appeal to move the Federal Court to direct the Election Commission (EC) to disqualify Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail as Jelai assemblyman for bribing voters.

This follows the Election Court’s decision last week to nullify MIC’s election victory in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat.

The court ruled that Manogaran, who sought to declare the election of MIC vice-president C Sivarraajh as invalid, had proven beyond reasonable doubt that money was given to voters during the campaign period.

The court also heard that Wan Rosdy was involved in handing out cash to Orang Asli voters.

Manogaran said he had held discussions with his legal team on their next move pending an appeal by Sivarraajh to the apex court.

“We are very likely to file a cross-appeal should Sivarraajh appeal to set aside the findings of the election judge,” he told FMT.

Sivarraajh has until Dec 14 to file his appeal, failing which the EC will conduct a by-election to fill the vacancy.

If Sivarraajh lodges an appeal, Manogaran added, he would have 10 days to file a cross-appeal.

The deputy chairman of Pahang DAP said he wanted the apex court to act against Wan Rosdy as the Election Court had found beyond reasonable doubt that the menteri besar and Sivarraajh were involved in bribing Orang Asli voters in Jelai.

“We want the apex court to give Wan Rosdy the right to be heard and give his side of the story,” he said.

Earlier this week, FMT reported that Wan Rosdy risked losing his state seat if Sivarraajh failed in his appeal to the Federal Court.

Lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said Section 37 (3) of the Election Offences Act 1954 states that any person who has been proven guilty of any corrupt practice will be reported to the EC.

The provision states that the person will be subject to the same incapacities as the candidate who committed the act of bribery.

Rafique said both Sivarraajh and Wan Rosdy could also be barred from contesting in any election over the next five years if the apex court dismissed the former’s appeal.

Rafique added that Wan Rosdy would be spared the risk of losing his Jelai state seat and menteri besar post only if Sivarraajh decided not to appeal.

Manogaran, who named Sivarraajh as the only respondent, filed the petition to nullify the results on grounds of massive vote buying.

Manogaran said Sivarraajh had relied on Wan Rosdy to meet voters, especially the Orang Asli who made up about 20% of the voters in Jelai.

He claimed that at several settlements, which also doubled up as voting centres, the Orang Asli voters were bribed to cast their ballots in favour of Sivarraajh.

Wan Rosdy, who is a four-term Jelai assemblyman, did not turn up to give evidence although the court postponed hearings three times to accommodate him.

The parliamentary constituency of Cameron Highlands comprises the state seats of Tanah Rata and Jelai, which were won by DAP and Barisan Nasional candidates respectively.

In the hotly contested election, Sivarraajh won by a 597-vote majority in a five-cornered battle.

Sivarraajh polled 10,307 votes, Manogaran 9,710 votes, Wan Mahadhir Wan Mahmud of PAS 3,587 votes, Mohd Tahir Kassim of Berjasa 81 votes and Suresh Kumar of Parti Sosialis Malalysia 680 votes.