Thursday, May 28

BN maintains victory in Balik Pulau parliamentary seat as court dismisses appeal

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PUTRAJAYA: Barisan Nasional (BN) maintains its victory in the Balik Pulau parliamentary seat in Penang as the Federal Court, here, yesterday dismissed an appeal brought by the candidate of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

A five-member panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif dismissed Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik’s appeal and ordered him to pay RM20,000 each in legal costs to Barisan Nasional MP for Balik Pulau, Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, the Balik Pulau election officer and the Election Commission.

Also presiding on the panel were Federal Court judges Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Datuk Hasan Lah and Datuk Ramly Ali.

Dr Hilmi’s counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin had raised a preliminary objection in the appeal, saying the appeal record was not proper.

The court upheld the decision of the Election Court which had struck out with costs Muhammad Bakhtiar’s election petition which was filed in a bid to nullify Dr Hilmi’s victory in the Balik Pulau parliamentary constituency in the 13th General Election (GE13) held in May this year.

Muhammad Bakhtiar would have to pay a total sum of RM180,000 in legal costs as the Election Court had earlier ordered him to pay RM40,000 each to Dr Hilmi, the Balik Pulau election officer and the Election Commission for the court proceedings in the Election Court.

Dr Hilmi, who is Health deputy minister, defeated Muhammad Bakhtiar by 1,539 votes.

Muhammad Bakhtiar was represented by lawyer Murali Ram while senior federal counsel Suzana Atan appeared for the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, the same panel had also heard an appeal with regard to the Selising state seat election petition.

Justice Raus, however, said the court reserved its decision on that appeal as they wanted to wait for the judgment of the Federal Court’s other five-member panel concerning the election petitions of parliamentary and state seats in Kelantan and Perak.

The appeal was brought by PAS election director for Selising, Semsudin Muhammad whose election petition was struck out by the Election Court with RM30,000 in legal costs.

Barisan Nasional’s Zulkifle Ali defeated Saiful Bahrim Mohamad of PAS and an independent candidate, Ibrahim Ismail, by a 107-vote majority for the Selising seat in the GE13.

Semsudin was represented by counsel Murtadza Mokhtar while counsel Datuk Hafarizam Harun represented Zulkifle and senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad appeared for the Election Commission. — Bernama