A voter who was found guilty of taking a ballot paper out of a polling station in the last general election was not only fined but barred from voting and being a candidate for five years.
Lawyer Gene Anand Vendargon, who appeared for Mohd Fadhli Khaharruddin, said this was the consequence of his client not exhausting his appeal to the Court of Appeal.
“My client decided not to proceed after the High Court reversed the acquittal by a magistrate’s court,” he told FMT when asked about the status of the case.
Anand said the Election Offences Act also provided for an offender being prevented from voting and standing as a candidate for five years from the date of conviction.
On May 28, the High Court set aside the acquittal, and Fadhli was fined RM3,000 or three month’s jail. He paid the fine.
Anand said Fadhli, 26, declined to appeal against the sentence and conviction as there was a possibility of the prosecution filing a cross appeal to send him to jail.
“In the High Court, the government lawyer was pressing for a custodial sentence but the judge opted to impose a fine,” he said.
The offence carries a maximum five year jail term or fine or both.
Fadhli was charged in 2014 with having a ballot paper without due authority at the SK Sungai Isap voting centre in Kuantan during the general election in 2013.
Judicial Commissioner Tuan Hassan Abdul Ghani ruled that the magistrate’s court had erred in acquitting Fadhli as the accused admitted coming to the polling station twice and that he had already cast his vote the first time.
During the trial Fadhli told the court that he had intended to hand it over to the police to prove double voting.
He also lodged a police report on the matter on the same day.
Fadhli said he managed to obtain a second set of ballot papers after washing off the supposedly indelible ink from his finger.
He voted in the Kuantan parliamentary seat and the Tanjung Lumpur state seat.
The EC introduced the indelible ink for the first time in 2013.
After voting at 10.15am at SK Sungai Isap, Kuantan, he returned at 1.15pm and was allowed to vote again when EC officers saw no ink on the finger.
Fadhli said when he had received the ballot, he immediately showed it to a policeman on duty at the polling station and requested to make a report.
Instead, he was charged with committing an offence a year later.