Court dismisses Pujut petition

Dr Ting waves at the camera during a photo call with his family members, party members and legal team. From left are Ling and lead counsel Chong Siew Chiang.

MIRI: The Election Court yesterday threw out Barisan Nasional (BN) direct candidate Datuk Hii King Chiong’s petition to nullify the results for the Pujut state constituency.

Judge Ravinthran N Paramaguru ordered Hii to pay RM80,000 in costs to respondent Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon and dismissed Hii’s lead counsel Peter Lin’s request for a stay in payment.

Ravinthran delivered his judgement to a packed court, eliciting shrieks of joy and clapping from Dr Ting’s supporters. He, however, warned them that they would be thrown out if they continued their act.

He said all the facts were considered, having read through the relevant laws, previous Election Court decisions on election offences, and studied the submissions of both parties.

In summary judgement, Ravinthran said the petition failed to clear the legal thresholds to be heard as Hii failed to deposit RM10,000 in cash and three copies of the petition with the Election Court registrar as required under Rule 3 of the Election Rules 1954.

The deposit was paid by cheque and only one copy of the petition was sent to the court.

On June 16, Hii filed the election petition on the grounds that Dr Ting was allegedly an Australian citizen and a registered voter in Australia.

Dr Ting won by a majority of 1,759 votes after garnering 8,899 votes against Hii’s 7,140 votes, PAS’ Jofri Jaraiee’s 513 votes and independent Fong Pau Teck’s 375 votes. The petition was the only one filed for the last state election.

Meanwhile, an elated Dr Ting said the court decision would allow him to move on and serve his constituents.

“I am amazed that with the legal team and resources behind them, they can present such a poor petition – for the fact there is no evidence at all to suggest that I am a dual-citizen,” he said, adding he felt vindicated.

“I think this is the end of the matter. Hopefully, the BN direct candidate will accept the verdict of the people and the court, and let me go on to serve the public.”

In a press statement, state DAP secretary Alan Ling said the ruling was fair and in line with the spirit of separation of powers among the judiciary, legislative and executive.

“An election outcome has its sanctity to be upheld and the voters’ choice must be respected. That is why an attempt by

the losing party to invite the judiciary (court) to nullify election result must first pass through the legal thresholds before the court can be asked to entertain the petition and hear the case,” he said.

Ling pointed out that Dr Ting still has a case pending with the police for allegedly committing an offence under Section 199 of the Penal Code for making a false declaration during Nomination Day on April 25.

He called on the police to refer their investigation paper to the Attorney General’s Chambers for prosecution as soon as possible.

“Otherwise, the police should stop the investigation and focus on crime solving: the public now has a very bad perception towards the police, especially when they saw CID officers from Bukit Aman conducting searches in three places on Sept 14, 2016,” said Ling.

He filed a revision application with the High Court for the three search warrants, and the case will be heard this Nov 2.

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