Bid To Nullify Bukit Gelugor By-Election Dismissed

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GEORGETOWN, Sept 22 – Abu Backer Sidek Mohamad Zan lost his bid to nullify the Bukit Gelugor by-election results when the election court today threw out the independent candidate’s petition and his call for fresh elections. Judge Lee Swee Seng said Abu Backer could not furnish sufficient evidence to support his allegation that Ramkarpal Singh Deo, the eventual winner, wooed voters by holding two dinners during campaigning in May. He said there was also a lack of information on who attended the dinners and how the events affected the result of the by-election. Ramkarpal won by 37,659 votes, garnering 41,242 votes against Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan, who got 3,583 votes.

Abu Backer only secured 225 votes, even fewer than the other independent candidate Mohd Nabi Bux Mohd Sathar’s 799 votes. Both lost their deposits. Lee said Abu Backer, who was also a lawyer, did not comply with the strict rules on the serving of petitions to respondents. The court also ordered costs of RM10,000 each to be paid to Ramkarpal , the Election Commission (EC) and the returning officer. Abu Backer represented himself in the case, which he filed on June 18, while Ramkarpal was represented by his brother and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo. Senior federal counsel Azizan Arshad and Andi Razalijaya appeared for the EC and the returning officer.

Outside the courtroom, Ramkarpal said he was happy with the court’s decision and looked forward to putting this episode behind him. “I thank the legal team led by Gobind and assisted by R.S.N. Rayer. I look forward to continuing my work in my constituency,” he said. Abu Backer said he was satisfied with the proceedings because the judge had listened to arguments from his side. Asked if he would appeal, he said he wanted to read the judge’s decision. Abu Backer drew controversy during the campaign when he threw himself in front of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s car outside the state assembly building when he failed to meet the latter. He later declared that he was withdrawing himself from the by-election, just a day before polling day. His decision was rejected by the EC, which does not allow withdrawals after the nomination period had ended.

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