Malaysia

BN and Pakatan fail to settle polls petition, wait for apex court to rule on election law

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
December 13, 2013

A proposed out-of-court settlement between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to withdraw election petition appeals for the May 5 general election in the Federal Court has fizzled out.

Confirming that the "global settlement" on 19 election petition appeals had failed, PR lawyers and politicians said they would now allow the apex court to make a ruling on questionable election laws.

(A global settlement refers to an agreement between the parties after they have addressed or compromised on the matter accordingly.)

It was reported last month that BN and PR lawyers were in talks to resolve the matter amicably.

PAS lawyer Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (pic) said PR wanted the Federal Court to decide and bring certainty to election laws.

"We won’t know the legal position of some of the contentious issues if we opted for a global settlement," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Hanipa, who is also Sepang MP, said the party may disagree with the court’s decision but that was the only channel to seek remedy.

"Anyway, we will now know which procedures in the election laws litigants must follow strictly so that petitions will not be knocked out on technical grounds."

Parti Keadilan Rakyat lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah, who is said to have headed the PR team in negotiations with the BN legal team, declined to go into the specifics of the negotiations.

He said both parties had tried to reach an amicable settlement but that it did not materialise.

"The court has started hearing the appeals after we informed the bench that both sides are not withdrawing their cases.”

Sivarasa, who is Subang MP, said he hoped the costs factor could be settled between BN and PR even after the Federal Court decided on the appeal.

On Tuesday, lawyers appearing for BN and PR informed the Federal Court bench that a global settlement could not be reached and pending appeals would proceed.

However, BN lawyers had asked for more time to decide on whether to proceed with their appeals for the Lembah Pantai and Batu parliamentary seats in Kuala Lumpur.

The apex court has fixed mention on December 19 for both cases.

So far, the court has allowed an appeal brought by PKR to nullify BN’s victory in the Machang parliamentary constituency to be remitted to the election court for trial.

The court had also set December 23 for a decision on the appeals of election petitions for the parliamentary constituencies of Bagan Datoh, Sungai Besar, Tapah and the state constituency of Lubok Merbau.

It had also dismissed five other appeals brought by BN for the Bachok parliamentary seat and the Jelawat state seat in Kelantan and by PAS for the three state seats of Pasir Panjang, Manong and Rungkup in Perak. – December 13, 2013.