PUTRAJAYA, (June 30) — Sabah opposition chief Datuk Lajim Ukin retains his Klias state seat after the Federal Court here dismissed the appeal brought by a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate to nullify the election result for the constituency.
Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, chairing a five-member panel, held that there was no merit in Isnin Aliasnih’s appeal and ordered him to pay RM20,000 in legal costs to Lajim.
In his judgment, Justice Zulkefli said Isnin failed to prove that a woman, by the name of Wong Kui En @ Norliah, was the appointed agent to Lajim who had allegedly distributed RM50 and coupons on May 4 last year, a day before polling for the 13th General Election.
It was Isnin’s contention that Norliah was the polling agent to Lajim who had distributed the money and coupons (which could be redeemed for RM100 should Lajim win the seat) to voters in the constituency during the 13th General Election.
Justice Zulkefli said it had not been shown to the court’s satisfaction that the Sabah Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief (Lajim) had knowledge and consented to the corrupt acts of Norliah in giving out the envelopes containing the money and coupon.
“We are of the view the Election judge was correct in her decision that Norliah’s action on May 4 last year was outside the scope of her duty as polling agent,” he added.
He said what Norliah did on May 4 last year was her own act and rightly described by the Election Judge as “on a frolic of her own”.
Thus, the impugned acts allegedly committed by Norliah on May 4 last year in discharging her duty as a polling agent could not make the respondent (Lajim) liable, he added.
Lajim won the Klias seat on a PKR ticket with a 179-vote majority by securing 6,324 votes against Isnin’s 6,145 votes during the May 5 general election.
Isnin filed an appeal to the Federal Court after the Election Court, on Dec 6 last year, dismissed his petition.
Outside the court, Isnin’s counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said considering the implication of today’s decision of the Federal Court, the government or Election Commission must look at amending the election law to clarify on the role of polling and counting agents. — BERNAMA