Thursday, June 13, 2013

PKR files election petition to contest Baram results

by Jenifer Laeng, Posted on June 13, 2013, Thursday
PRESS CONFERENCE: Baru (seated, four left), Piasau assemblyman Alan Ling (far left), See (second left), Roland (third left) flanked by other PKR leaders and supporters at Miri High Court, holding a press conference after filing an election petition to nullify the Baram seat result yesterday.

MIRI: State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has filed its only election petition in Sarawak at Miri High Court here yesterday, on behalf of Roland Engan who contested in Baram in the 13th parliamentary election on the last day of appeal period.

Roland, who was accompanied by state PKR chief Baru Bian and his deputy See Chee How as his advocates arrived at the court at about 2.30pm, has named Baram MP Anyi Ngau as his first respondent, while returning officer for Baram Joseph Belayong Punan, who is also Baram district officer, was named the second respondent.

Baru, when met by reporters after filing the petition yesterday, said PKR sought to declare the result of the Baram seat election result null and void by virtue of section 35 (b) and (c) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

“As far as I am concerned, there are very strong grounds for nullifying the election in Baram but of course it is subject to evidence in the hearing at the trial later,” Baru said.

The petition listed eight grounds to seek the election court ruling to nullify the result which was gazetted on May 22 this year.

Among others, the petitioner claimed that there were doubtful, dubious and questionable results of postal votes and votes of advance voters, disenfranchised voters at several polling stations in Baram including at Kampung Long Item, Long Lilim and Long Miri, breaches and irregularities in official addition of votes, failure to adhere to election regulations during and after counting of votes and corrupt or illegal practice by an agent of the candidate.

On the preliminary hearing, See said they have yet to be given a date until the chief judge appoints an election judge.

“The judge is not from Sarawak, but another state. He will come here and fix the date for the hearing,” he said.

Baru, when asked the possibility of filing election petitions for other areas in the state, said their focus will be only on Baram after much consideration.

He said the top party leadership early on actually considered filing for a petition for Saratok but then decided to just focus on Baram.

“There are also a lot of possible grounds, even in Saratok and also other areas in the state but because election petition is very stringent in terms of evidence and proving that in court is another task.

“After considering the overall evidence we have and which witnesses will be willing to come out in the open, we decided that Baram will be our focus,” Baru added.

In the 13th general election held on May 5 this year, Roland Engan who stood on PKR’s ticket in Baram, narrowly lost the seat to BN candidate Anyi Ngau.

Anyi polled 9,182 votes to win with a majority of 194 votes in the three-cornered fight with Roland (8,988 votes) and Independent candidate Patrick Sibat (363).

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