Apex court orders retrial of Jasin election petition

Khairuddin Abu Hassan. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today ordered a retrial of the election petition filed by PKR candidate Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who contested the Jasin parliamentary seat in the 14th general election.

A five-member bench chaired by Richard Malanjum unanimously allowed the appeal on grounds that Khairuddin could file the petition in any court in the High Court of Malaya.

Malanjum said Khairuddin had also furnished sufficient details in his petition.

“We will deliver written grounds later,” he said.

He also allowed costs of RM20,000 to Khairuddin, who was represented by Gopal Sri Ram, and allowed his application that a new election judge be appointed to hear the petition.

Case management has been ordered for Friday.

Last October, judge Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali declared Barisan Nasional candidate Ahmad Hamzah the rightful winner of the Jasin parliamentary seat following his preliminary objection.

Ruzima said Khairuddin should have filed his petition in the Melaka High Court, not in Kuala Lumpur.

He said Khairuddin had failed to adhere to the basic requirement of Article 118 of the Federal Constitution, which was sufficient to allow Ahmad’s move 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 also said the discrepancy in Form 14s after the votes were cast had not affected the integrity of the election.

Khairuddin had filed his petition due to alleged discrepancies in the forms, as 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 claimed that more ballot papers were issued than the number of votes cast.

Ahmad defended the seat with a 219-vote majority in a three-cornered fight last year.

He polled 26,560 votes against 26,341 by Khairuddin and 8,860 by the candidate from PAS.