MIC’s Sivarraajh Loses Cameron Highlands Seat over Graft Case

- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Court nullifies election win, declares seat vacant.

Hafiz Yatim/Malaysiakini

The Kuala Lumpur High Court, sitting as an election court, has nullified MIC’s election victory in Cameron Highlands, saying there was vote-buying involved as alleged by DAP’s M Manogaran.

Judge Azizah Nawawi, in allowing Manogaran’s election petition, said the petitioner had proven beyond reasonable doubt that money was given to voters during the campaign period.

She said that a “pattern of giving money to voters during the period before the election” and corrupt practices had been proven.

She added that the Election Commission would be notified of the court’s decision.

The Election Court’s ruling today means that Cameron Highlands incumbent C Sivarrajh is at risk of losing his parliamentary seat. He has 14 days to file his appeal to the Federal Court.

Manogaran filed the petition in an attempt to nullify the Cameron Highlands general election results on grounds of massive vote-buying.

However, he did not seek an order for an immediate by-election if the court granted his petition.

Sivarraajh won with a 597-vote majority in a five-cornered fight with candidates from DAP, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PAS and Berjasa.

In his election petition filed on Jun 5, Manoragan claimed that Sivarraajh and Jelai assemblyperson Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail had met nine village heads and gave them money to distribute between RM30 and RM1,000 each to Orang Asli constituents.

Wan Rosdy is the current Pahang menteri besar.

Sivarraajh won the seat with 10,307 votes while Manogaran polled 9,710, PAS’ Wan Mahadir Wan Mahmud (3,587), PSM’s B.Suresh Kumar (680) and Berjasa candidate Mohd Tahir Kassim (81).

During the petition hearing, Orang Asli leaders testified that Barisan Nasional candidates for the Cameron Highlands parliamentary and Jelai state seats gave a total of RM2,100 to six Tok Batins, in seeking their support few days before polling day.

The Tok Batins also said they were given RM200 as “duit rokok” (cigarette money) during the 12-day campaign period.

During the trial, however, Sivarraajh denied the claims of vote buying, insisting that this was wrong under the law.

Manogaran was represented by K Shanmuga while lawyer Hafarizam Harun headed Sivarraajh’s legal team.

In an immediate reaction, the MIC vice-president said he would appeal the decision.

“I am discussing with my lawyers now,” he told Malaysiakini in a text message.

Cameron Highlands is one of MIC’s two parliament seats. The other is Tapah, which is held by the party’s deputy president V Saravanan.