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Lajim gets to keep Klias seat

Published on: Saturday, December 07, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: The Election Court dismissed with costs, Friday, a petition challenging the election of Sabah opposition leader Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin as Klias Assemblyman in the 13th general election earlier this year.

Kuching-based Judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie held that the plaintiff (Isnin Aliasnih) had failed to satisfy the court with evidence or certainty that a corrupt practice campaign was committed by one Wong Kui En @ Norliah as a polling agent with the knowledge and consent of the respondent (Lajim).

She awarded costs of RM50,000 to Lajim. Lajim, 58, who is Sabah Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief could barely contain his emotion over the decision of the court.

"It is a win for the party's struggle and for the people," said Lajim, who had to deal with defections by several divisional leaders, including two assemblymen in the past few weeks. He thanked God and his lawyers for a good defence, the judge for a fair judgement and the PKR and people in Klias and in the State.

"I will continue our struggle for the future of people in Sabah and in Malaysia," said Lajim, who was accompanied by PKR leaders and supporters outside the court.

PKR Sabah Deputy Chairperson Christina Liew and senior leader Datuk James Ghani were among those present to support Lajim. Defeated BN candidate Isnin had sought the election to be declared void and also that the respondent was not duly elected or returned at the said election.

The grounds of the election petition were that the respondent had committed the offences of bribery under Sections 10(a) of the Election Offences Act 1954 in contravention of Section 11(1)(b) of the Act and the act of corrupt practice in contravention of Section 11(1) (c) of the Act.

Isnin was represented by counsel Japar Esteban, Muammar Julkarnain, Saiful Azian Mokhtar and Rizwandean Bukhary M. Borhan while Lajim was represented by counsel Datuk Chau Chin Tang and Datuk Lawrence Thien.

Yew in delivering her decision held that the plaintiff had showed to her satisfaction and certainty that one Wong Kui En @ Norliah was the polling agent of the respondent during the 13th general election based on the unchallenged evidence of the plaintiff's three witnesses.

The duty of the polling agent based on the plaintiff's witness was on polling day to monitor the voting and to check the names of the voters, said Yew, adding that anything outside the duty would be on her own and that the respondent shall not be liable.

"Although there is evidence to show that Norliah was campaigning for the respondent by giving the plaintiff's two witnesses each an envelope containing money and coupon and made a promise of further money if the respondent was elected, there is no evidence adduced by the plaintiff to show that campaigning was within Norliah's duty scope," said Yew.

She also held that the plaintiff had not adduced any evidence that proved to the court that the respondent was aware and had consented to the distributing of the coupon, envelopes of money and promises of RM100 made by Norliah to the plaintiff's two witnesses.

"This allegation of corrupt practice by Norliah is outside her scope of duty as polling agent.

A polling agent only works on polling day and not before polling day.

"For all these reasons, I found that the plaintiff has failed to satisfy with evidence or certainty that corrupt practice campaign was committed by Norliah as polling agent with the knowledge and consent of the respondent," held Yew in dismissing the petition.

Isnin when met after the proceedings said he would file an appeal.

"I believe the truth will prevail," said Isnin, when leaving the courthouse compound, accompanied by his supporters.