There are now 3 possible by-elections in Malaysia : Bkt Selambau(Kedah-state assembly seat), Bkt Gantang (Perak-Parliament seat) and Pensiangan (Sabah-Parliament seat). These by-elections will set the agenda of Malaysian politics for the next 3-4 months and figure significantly in the calculations of all other issues eg the take over of PM position by Najib from Badawi on Mar 31st, the release of a mini-budget to respond to global financial challenge etc. Already the possible by-elections are causing ripples:
*the fight to be the candidates of Bkt Selambau has caused frictions in PR (DAP Vs PKR Vs PAS) and also BN (MIC vs UMNO); Pensiangan could see fight for candidates between SAPP & PKR on 1 side and PBS Vs PBRS on BN side; Bkt Gantang seems more settled-but one can never tell;
* Anwar remind PKR candidates to be resistant to defection offers-as an afterthought?
* EC said the 2 bukit by-elections may run concurrently-but they are still scrutinising the vacancy of Bkt Selambau, where the Assemblyperson Arumugam is uncontactible;
* commentators and media are sizing up the 3 constituencies in an anti-BN atmosphere among the public; But the 3 constituencies are very different: Bkt Selambau is a mixed seat as far as mixed seats go; Bkt Gantang is a Malay majority seat-quite like KT’s ethnic mix;while Pensiangan is a non-Malay bumiputra majority area; All need rather close and separate treatment;
Court reserves judgment on Pensiangan election result
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 12 — The Federal Court today reserved judgment in an appeal by Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to quash the nullification of his election to the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election.
Appeal Court President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, who sat with Chief Justice of Malaya Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Federal Court judge Datuk Nik Hashim Abd Rahman, said judgment would be delivered at a date to be fixed.
Kurup, represented by leading counsel Mariati Robert, wanted the country’s highest court to set aside the election court’s decision declaring the Pensiangan election result null and void.
Kurup won the seat unopposed on nomination day in the 12th general election after the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of Danny Anthony Andipai of Parti Keadilan Rakyat and another candidate.
He was subsequently appointed Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister.
Andipai then petitioned to the election court to nullify the election result, naming Kurup and the returning officer, Bubudan OT Majalu, as respondents.
Election judge David Wong Tak Wah, in allowing the petition on Sept 8 last year, ruled that the wrongful rejection of the nomination papers had breached Andipai’s constitutional right to take part in the election and the written law relating to the conduct of the election.
In his 36-page judgment, Wong said the decision of the deputy director of the Sabah Election Commission to accept Andipai’s nomination papers was final and could not be overruled by the returning officer under the pretext that there was an objection during the objection period.
The deputy director was exercising a power provided for by law in making the decision and Bubudan’s decision to uphold the objection was a wrong decision, he ruled.
Senior federal counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, in his submission today, said the election judge had failed to observe that Andipai did not comply with any election law when arguing on section 32B of the Election Offences Act.
He said it was stipulated that nomination papers should be submitted between 9am and 10am but Andipai submitted his papers at 10.25am, which was beyond the stipulated time. — Bernama
Pensiangan, the 5th by-election?
12 Feb 09 : 1.52PM
by Chan Kok Leong
(First appeared in The Edge Financial Daily)
(© Badly Drawn Dad / flickr)
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s the season for by-elections, and Pensiangan (P182) could make it five since last year’s general election when the court makes its ruling this week.
The High Court had ruled last September that the election of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to the Sabah seat was null and the case has been appealed.
Kurup was declared the winner of the seat without a contest on nomination day for the 8 March elections when the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of three other candidates on grounds of late submission.
One of the candidates whose nomination papers were rejected, Danny Anthony Andipai of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), subsequently filed a petition to declare Kurup’s election invalid.
In his petition, Andipai named Kurup as the first respondent and returning officer Bubudan Majalu as the second respondent.
High Court judge David Wong Dak Wah, sitting as an Election Court judge, ruled that Majalu erred when he overturned a directive by the Election Commission (EC) to accept Andipai’s nomination papers.
The Federal Court is scheduled to make a ruling on Kurup’s appeal on Friday, 13 Feb 2009.
If the Federal Court upholds the High Court’s findings, this could be the fifth by-election since 8 March 2008. On Monday, 9 Feb, two seats were left vacant following the death of Bukit Gantang Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum and the resignation of Bukit Selambau assemblyperson V Arumugam.
Both by-elections should be held within 60 days from Monday, and the EC has called for a special meeting on Friday to discuss the dates for the two by-elections.
The country saw its first by-election of the year (second since 8 March) in Kuala Terengganu last month (January 2009) following the death of former deputy minister of education Datuk Razali Ismail last year. The first was at Permatang Pauh last August.
Pensiangan is a rural parliamentary seat with about 19,712 voters of mainly ethnic Murut with two state seats — Nabawan and Sook. The seat comprises 85% non-Muslim bumiputera, 12.1% Muslim bumiputera and 1.5% Chinese [Malaysian] voters.
Nabawan is currently held by Upko’s Datuk Bobbey Ah Fang Suan while Sook was won by PBRS’ Datuk Ellron Alfred Angian at the last general election.
Since the election petition for Pensiangan was filed last April, both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional have stepped up their activities there.
While PKR’s vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan now has a service centre in Nabawan, a host of government programmes have also coincidentally reached Pensiangan.
On Monday, Education Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein together with Astro launched a free satellite television service targeted for government-run schools at SMK Nabawan II.
On 3 Feb, rural and regional development deputy minister Kurup announced federal government plans to build the constituency’s first government hospital in Nabawan.
In November last year, works minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad said the ministry had approved an RM11 million allocation for preliminary studies and consultancy services to identify development projects in Pensiangan.
Nabawan currently has five health clinics — Salong, Sepulut, Pegalungan, Pensiangan and Tibow.
In November last year, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad said the ministry had approved an RM11 million allocation for preliminary studies and consultancy services to identify development projects in Pensiangan.
He said the ministry estimated that the projects costing RM430 million would be implemented in the Ninth, 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan.
Projects to be implemented in Pensiangan include the Kampung Menawo, Jalan Sapulut-Salung-Pagalungan-Pensiangan and Jalan Ansip-Dalit roads.
Mohd Zin also approved a RM50,000 allocation for a new jetty at Pagalungan and RM2 million to upgrade Jalan Sapulut-Pagalungan.