Thursday, April 10, 2008


Pensiangan seat: Candidates file petitions


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Danny Anthony Andipai and Independent candidate Saineh b Usau have separately filed an election petition at the High Court here to challenge the validity of the result of the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the 12th General Election. Danny, 41, filed his petition through Counsel Ansari Abdullah at the High Court’s Registry at 3.07pm yesterday, naming Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Election Commission Returning Officer Bubudan OT Majalu as the first and second respondents respectively. Saineh filed his petition about 4.3Opm through his Counsel Arthur Borine, naming Sabah State Election Officer Bubudan and Joseph as the first, second and third respondents respectively. In their respective petitions, Danny and Saineh are seeking among others, an order from the Court that the election of the first respondent, Joseph Kurup as null and void under Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act 1954. Saineh is also asking the Court to declare the conduct of the said nomination election as unlawful, null and void. Kurup, who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President, won the Pensiangan seat uncontested after the nomination papers of the other candidates were rejected by the Returning Officer. In the fact of the petition, Danny said he arrived at the nomination centre at the Nabawan District Council Hall about 9.35am on Feb 24 this year and gave his personal details together with that of his proposer and seconder to the police counter in front of the entrance to the said hall. He then entered the nomination centre and was given a piece of paper bearing number 10 and proceeded to pay his deposit of RM10,000 and also paid the sum of RM5,000 required as deposit for campaign materials. About 9.55am, one of the Election Officers closed and locked the entrance to the nomination centre. Danny was then asked by Election Officer Rose Sufi to hand over his nomination papers to the second respondent (Bubudan) and he did it accordingly. However, he was shocked when he was informed by the second respondent that he was late in delivering his nomination papers and refused to accept the same. He tried to explain that he was unable to hand over his nomination papers as the second respondent was occupied with another candidate but the second respondent was adamant in his refusal. Danny then contacted his advocate, Ansari who advised him to lodge a police report at the police counter. As he was proceeding to lodge a police report, he was advised ‘not to do so by Assistant Returning Officer Osman Aganduk @ Fendi who said to the second respondent, “Tuan boleh daftar, saya sudah called SPR” (You can register sir, I have called the Election Commission). After that, the second respondent accepted Danny’s nomination papers and subsequently that of the other candidates, Paul Bunsu b Gitang @ Paul Gitang and Saineh b Usau, and posted all the three nomination papers for objection. The second respondent closed the period for objection to nomination papers about 11am and went on to accept the nomination of the first respondent for the above election and the other nominations, including that of Paul for N37 Sook. Danny was shocked when the second respondent announced that the first respondent (Kurup) was returned unopposed and declared him as being duly elected for the election as the nomination papers of him and Saineh were rejected. He further said that no reason was given by the second respondent in the announcement made for the nomination and election of the first respondent and the rejection of the nomination papers of the petitioner. Danny later went to lodge a police report on what had transpired during the nomination at the Nabawan Police Station about 4pm on the same day. He claimed that the second respondent (Bubudan) had planned to make available only one counter for delivery of nomination papers for the three constituencies of P182 Pensiangan, N37 Sook and N38 Nabawan. He further claimed that the second respondent had purposely delayed the process of delivery of nomination papers by making himself unduly busy attending to the purported independent candidate, Fatimah Agitor, and answering telephone calls on his hand phone during the period of nomination and had failed to delegate the Assistant Returning Officers the duty and/or power to accept the delivery of nomination papers during the period of nomination to enable the first respondent to be returned unopposed in the election. Saineh meanwhile claimed that he approached the second respondent (Bubudan) for an explanation as to why was his nomination was rejected but the second respondent did not entertain him. The second respondent also refused to show the register book that recorded the submission time of his nomination paper. Saineh stated that there was no objection at all for his nomination documents and/or at least if there was any, of which he was not made aware of, the second respondent should have notified him so that he could accordingly clarify or defend himself against any so-called objection. He claimed that he was never late in submitting his nomination documents having been accepted and pasted on the notice board. If at all (which is denied) he was late in submitting his nomination documents, then the second respondent should not have accepted the documents. He further claimed that by pasting his nomination papers on the notice board, it clearly indicated that the nomination papers were submitted within the time period provided by Rule 6(2)(b) of the Election (Conduct of Election) Regulations1981. Saineh added there was no objection received from any other candidate against the nomination documents for Pensiangan. He further claimed that the second respondent not only did not comply with the provision of any written law relating to the election but the election was not conducted according to the principles of such election in that the election/returned unopposed of the third respondent (Kurup) was decided by the second respondent and not decided by the electorate of Pensiangan constituency.