The Election Court today dismissed an election petition filed by defeated Barisan Nasional direct candidate Datuk Hii King Chiong to challenge the result of the Pujut state seat.
In dismissing the petition, Justice Ravinthran N. Paramaguru awarded costs of RM80,000 to Pujut Assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon, who was named the sole respondent in the petition.
Ravinthran said the petition was rejected based on two grounds raised during the preliminary objection by the respondent’s counsel on the issue of cash payment of RM10,000 in security deposit and the need to send three copies of the petition to the court.
On the first ground, the petition was rejected because the payment of the security deposit must be in cash and not by cheque at the time of the petition filing, he said.
He said the petition was dismissed also because the court had received only one copy of the petition, instead of three copies as required by the rules.
At one juncture, proceeding was interrupted when DAP supporters sitting in the court room made noise by clapping their hands right after Ravinthran made the ruling.
An angry Ravinthran warned that their behaviour would not be tolerated and he would instruct the court bailiff to take stern action by asking them to leave the courtroom if they continued their act.
“This is a court not a circus,” he said, adding that he had not completed reading his ruling yet.
Hii filed the petition on June 16, claiming that Dr Ting was an Australian citizen and had registered as a voter in Australia.
For the record, Section 16 and 17(g) of the Constitution of Sarawak stated that a State Legislative Assembly member should be disqualified if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country or has made a declaration of allegiance to any country outside Malaysia.
Dr Ting was represented by counsel Chong Siew Chiang, while a panel of lawyers led by Peter Lin Kuan Yuh represented Hii.
Lin, when by Bernama after the proceeding, said Hii would file an appeal against the decision.
In the May 7 state election, Dr Ting won with a majority of 1,759 votes in a four-cornered contest involving DAP, BN, PAS and an Independent candidate.
The Pujut election petition was the only petition filed after the May 7 state election.