Visitor No since 22-10-98
Election court next theatre for political parties Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Bernama
By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 (Bernama) -- The time has come for political parties to face court battles to challenge the 13th general election (GE13) results, as the deadline for filing election petitions is today.

Some politicians claime is almost impossible to win an election petition as the standard of proof "is beyond human capacity" and furthermore, they cannot not challenge the Electoral Roll anymore.

As an example, the party filing the petition must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the opposing side had given inducements or intimidated voters to influence their voting as the opposing side can argue that they wanted to cast their ballots for them.

Even some lawyers say it is hard to win an election petition due to Section 9(a) of the Elections Act 1958, which protects the Electoral Roll from being challenged in court as a result of an amendment to the act in 2002.

Under the Election Offences Act 1954, an election petition can only be filed on specific grounds, such as bribery being involved, threats and procedural irregularities.

A senior lawyer, who has vast experience in filing election petitions, however, refuted this.

He explained that the issue was not about existing election laws and regulations but more on understanding the basic premises of election laws, such as why they were drafted in such a way.

"You need to understand that when you file an election petition... you are challenging the will of the voters. Election itself is a democratic process. If you want to challenge the will of the people then you need to show that the result did not reflect the will of the people.

"As an example, you just cannot say three persons were bribed and you file an election petition to claim that the three person can overrule the majority of voters if the candidate won by 1,000 votes," said the senior lawyer, who did not wish to be identified.

"If you are challenging on the premise of non-compliance of procedure, you need to prove that this has affected the overall result. Lets say, if you said indelible ink is washable, you must show how many of them had come back to vote twice to the extent that it affected the overall result," he explained.

Gerakan-linked think tank, Social Economic Development and Research (SEDAR) Institute executive director Ivanpal S. Grewal said the high standard of proof was required for any election petition as "a judge would not simply want to overturn the people's choice" unless the petitioner had very strong evidence of irregularities which finally affected the overall result.

"There must be a critical mass that affected the election result. Lets say some voters were bribed, the alleged offences must meet a critical mass in the sense it had affected the election result and caused one person to win unfairly," he said.

Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar has also refuted that Section 9(a) of the Elections Act 1958 is a hindrance for any election petition as there are many other grounds such as election offences.

"Section 9(a) of the Elections Act 1958 provides finality to the Electoral Roll (ER). If the Electoral Roll can be challenged every time it has been gazetted following due process, then there is not no end to it and nobody will be elected," he was quoted as saying.

According to Wan Ahmad, the EC updates the ER on a daily basis and gazettes it quarterly after a stringent due process with the list being exhibited for 14 days and the names verified by the National Registration Department (NRD).

After the 12th general election in 2008, 29 election petitions were filed but only one was successful. The case involved the Sanglang state seat in Perlis whereby the Federal Court declared PAS candidate Hashim Jasin as the rightful winner for the seat.

The Kangar Election Court had earlier declared the seat won by Barisan Nasional's Abdullah Hassan to be vacant following a petition filed by Hashim, on grounds that the election result was contrary to the figures stated in EC's Form 14, which showed that he had won with a 47-vote majority.

Form 14 is the form that records the results for the respective polling streams, with signatures from the polling stations' presiding officers and counting agents.

Hashim's lawyer Zulmi Sabri, when contacted by Bernama, said the main challenge for the petitioner was to be able to file an election petition within 21 days of the election result being gazetted.

"The challenge is how you are able to gather solid evidence and present a strong case within the period. In our case, we coordinated all the election petitions for various states. This helped us in fulfilling the petition requirements, getting through the PO (preliminary objections) and then full hearing.

"Despite all this, what I can tell you is that it is still tough for the petitioner, but not impossible to win," he said, adding that Sanglang case was the only successful election petition recorded by PAS.

Despite the task being being called an "uphill battle" for petitioners, senior lawyer Roger Tan believes that the Election Court is still the best platform to resolve a dispute over an election result and claims on election irregularities.

"Prove it in the court, otherwise accept the result. That is what is all about democracy, not democrazy (repeat democrazy)," he said.

With the deadline to file election petitions up today, Barisan Nasional has decided to file 21 election petitions while the opposition pact of DAP-PKR-PAS 34.

Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria has been reported as having given assurance that the petitions can be settled within a year if everything proceeds smoothly.

 


Petisyen: Mahkamah medan pertempuran parti politik

Sinar Harian

KUALA LUMPUR - Setelah tempoh yang ditetapkan untuk memfailkan petisyen pilihan raya berakhir hari ini, maka akan bermulalah pula masanya bagi parti politik untuk bertarung di mahkamah bagi mencabar keputusan PRU13 pada 5 Mei lepas.

Beberapa ahli politik mendakwa adalah hampir mustahil bagi mana-mana pihak untuk menang dalam petisyen pilihan raya memandangkan standard pembuktian yang ditetapkan 'adalah di luar capaian manusia', di samping hakikat bahawa mereka tidak boleh lagi mencabar Rang Daftar Pemilih.

Misalnya, pihak yang memfailkan petisyen perlu membuktikan di luar keraguan munasabah bahawa pihak yang ditentangnya telah memberi habuan dorongan atau menakut-nakutkan pengundi bagi mempengaruhi undi mereka kerana pihak yang ditentangnya boleh memberi hujah bahawa pengundi berkenaan sebenarnya ingin memberi undi kepada mereka.

Malah, beberapa peguam berkata memang sukar untuk memenangi petisyen pilihan raya berikutan adanya Seksyen 9(a) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958, yang melindungi Rang Daftar Pemilih daripada dicabar di mahkamah, susulan kepada pindaan yang dibuat terhadap akta itu pada 2002.

Mengikut Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954, sesuatu petisyen pilihan raya hanya boleh difailkan atas alasan khusus, seperti wujudnya amalan rasuah, ancaman dan penyelewengan prosedur.

Bagaimanapun, seorang peguam kanan, yang berpengalaman luas dalam memfailkan petisyen pilihan raya, menolak andaian itu.

Beliau berkata isunya bukan kerana wujudnya undang-undang atau peraturan pilihan raya yang ada sekarang, tetapi lebih kepada kefahaman tentang premis asas undang-undang pilihan raya seperti kenapa ia digubal sebegitu rupa.

"Anda perlu faham bahawa apabila anda memfailkan petisyen pilihan raya...sebenarnya anda mencabar kehendak pengundi. Pilihan raya itu sendiri merupakan satu proses demokrasi. Sekiranya anda ingin mencabar kehendak rakyat, maka anda perlu menunjukkan bahawa keputusan berkenaan tidak mencerminkan kehendak rakyat.

"Misalnya, anda tidak boleh hanya berkata tiga orang telah diberi rasuah dan kemudian memfailkan satu petisyen pilihan raya untuk mendakwa tiga orang berkenaan boleh mengatasi majoriti pengundi sekiranya calon terbabit menang dengan 1,000 undi.

"Sekiranya anda mencabar atas premis prosedur berkenaan tidak dipatuhi, maka anda perlu membuktikan bahawa ia telah menjejaskan keseluruhn keputusan. Katakanlah anda mendakwa dakwat kekal hilang apabila dicuci, anda perlu menunjukkan berapa ramaikah pengundi yang kembali mengundi sekali lagi hingga membolehkannya menjejaskan keseluruhan keputusan," katanya.

Ivanpal S. Grewal, pengarah eksekutif Institut Pembangunan dan Penyelidikan Sosioekonomi (SEDAR), badan pemikir yang mempunyai kaitan dengan Gerakan, berkata bukti yang tinggi standardnya perlu disediakan bagi sesuatu petisyen pilihan raya kerana 'seseorang hakim tidak akan dengan semudah itu ingin mengubah pilihan rakyat', melainkan pihak yang memfailkan petisyen mempunyai bukti kukuh bahawa penyelewengan telah dilakukan hingga boleh menjejaskan keseluruhan keputusan.

"Perlu terdapat alasan kritikal yang boleh menjejaskan keputusan pilihan raya itu. Katakanlah ada pengundi yang diberi rasuah, dakwaan ini perlu mempunyai kekuatan kritikal dalam erti kata ia telah menjejaskan keputusan pilihan raya dan menyebabkan seseorang itu memenanginya dengan cara yang tidak adil," kata beliau.

Timbalan Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihan raya (SPR) Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar juga menyangkal bahawa Seksyen 9(a) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958 menjadi penghalang kepada sesuatu petisyen pilihan raya kerana katanya terdapat banyak asas lain, termasuk kesalahan pilihan raya.

"Seksyen 9(a) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958 memperuntukkan kemuktamadan Rang Daftar Pemilih. Sekiranya Rang Daftar Pemilih boleh dicabar setiap kali ia diwartakan setelah mematuhi proses yang ditetapkan, maka tidak akan ada kesudahannya dan tiada siapa yang akan terpilih," katanya yang dipetik sebagai berkata.

Menurut Wan Ahmad, SPR mengemaskinikan Rang Daftar Pemilih setiap hari dan mewartakannya empat bulan sekali setelah mematuhi suatu proses ketat dan senarai ini akan dipamerkan selama 14 hari, dengan nama yang terkandung di dalamnya disahkan Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN).

Selepas Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12 pada 2008, sebanyak 29 petisyen pilihan raya difailkan, tetapi daripada jumlah itu, hanya satu yang berjaya. Kes ini melibatkan kerusi negeri Sanglang di Perlis, apabila Mahkamah Persekutuan mengisytiharkan calon Pas Hashim Jasin sebagai pemenang mutlak bagi kerusi itu.

Sebelum itu, Mahkamah Pilihan Raya Kangar mengisytiharkan kerusi berkenaan, yang dimenangi calon Barisan Nasional (BN) Abdullah Hassan, perlu dikosongkan atas alasan keputsuan pilihan raya berkenaan bercanggah dengan angka yang terkandung di dalam Borang 14 SPR, yang menunjukkan bahawa beliau menang dengan majoriti 47 undi.

Ketika dihubungi Bernama, peguam Zulmi Sabri, yang mewakili Hashim, berkata cabaran utama bagi pihak yang memfailkan petisyen ialah kemampuannya untuk memfailkan petisyen pilihan raya dalam tempoh 21 hari selepas keputusan pilihan raya diwartakan.

"Cabarannya ialah adakah anda mampu mengumpul bukti kukuh dan mengemukakan kes yang kuat dalam tempoh itu. Dalam kes kami, kami menyelaras semua petisyen pilihan raya untuk pelbagai negeri. Ini membantu kami dalam memenuhi syarat yang ditetapkan untuk mengemukakan petisyen, daripada peringkat PO (bantahan awal) hinggalah kepada pendengaran sepenuhnya.

"Namun demikian, apa yang dapat saya katakan laluannya tetap sukar bagi pihak yang memfailkan petisyen, walaupun tidak mustahil baginya untuk menang," katanya sambil menambah bahawa kes Sanglang merupakan satu-satunya kejayaan dalam petisyen pilihan raya yang dicatat PAS setakat ini.

Walaupun tugas ini disifatkan sebagai "kerja sukar" bagi pihak yang memfailkan petisyen, namun peguam kanan Roger Tan percaya Mahkamah Pilihan Raya tetap merupakan platform terbaik untuk menyelesaikan pertikaian berhubung keputusan pilihan raya serta dakwaan berlakunya penyelewengan dalam pilihan raya.

"Buktikannya di mahkamah, jika tidak, terimalah saja keputusannya. Inilah yang dikatakan demokrasi, bukan 'democrazy'," katanya.

Setelah tempoh akhir untuk memfailkan petisyen pilihan raya berakhir hari ini, BN mengambil keputusan untuk memfailkan 21 petisyen, manakala pakatan pembangkang DAP-PKR-Pas, 34.

Ketua Hakim Negara Tun Arifin Zakaria dilaporkan memberi jaminan bahawa semua petisyen yang difailkan boleh diselesaikan dalam tempoh setahun sekiranya segalanya berjalan lancar.

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