Malaysiakini News

Cameron Highlands petition: Stop trial by media, Sivarraajh tells opponent

Published:  |  Modified:

Cameron Highlands MP C Sivarraajh has called for election petitioner M Manogaran and his witnesses to stop "conducting trials by media" against him.

Sivarrajh said Manogaran, who was the DAP candidate for Cameron Highlands in the recent general election, should instead let the court decide on the outcome of the petition.

In a statement today, the MP also denied all the allegations made against him in the petition, including bribing the Orang Asli community for votes.

"The election petition, in which I am accused of bribing voters in order to achieve victory, is predominantly based on hearsay and the petitioner has to call his witnesses to testify before the court to verify his evidence, and that's the stage we are at now.

"I have chosen to remain silent on the above-mentioned subject all this while because I believe that, as a lawful Malaysian, it is my responsibility to both honour and respect the court of law.

"I deny all the accusations made by him (Manogaran) against me, in the petition, and the trial is still ongoing. Whether I'm guilty or not, I shall let the court of law decide," said Sivarrajh, who is MIC Youth chief.

He was responding to testimonies by several Orang Asli voters in the constituency that they had received cash from BN before the May 9 general election.

Manogaran, the Pahang DAP deputy chief, contested the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat for Pakatan Harapan, but lost out to Sivarraajh by just 597 votes. He then filed an election petition to challenge the outcome.

'Using media to attack'

Sivarraajh added that Manogaran, who is also a lawyer by profession, had resorted to attacking him and his position as MP, through accusations in the media.

"Just two days into the trial, the petitioner and his list of witnesses have been aggressively discrediting me by releasing media statements on alleged accusations which are yet to be proven in the court.

"Such act leads to various perceptions and confusion among the people, especially those from my constituency. It clearly proves that Manogaran is intending to conduct a trial by media to discredit me, even though all the accusations against me in the petition are yet to be proven," he said.

Sivarraajh further urged Manogaran to show respect towards the country's legal institutions, and let the court decide whether or not he is guilty, based on evidence produced by both sides.

Manogaran: Allegations made in open court

Meanwhile, Manogaran, when contacted by Malaysiakini, said that while he is also against the conduct of trial by media, the allegations against Sivarraajh were made in open court, and the witness statements are public documents.

"I did not go to the press and tell them to make such allegations. The matter was mentioned in open court and they were picked up by members of the media following the proceeding.

"There are reports published in blogs, which are against me, and I can't do anything about it. As a member of a coalition (Harapan) which has championed freedom of the press, I can't tell reporters not to cover (the election petition hearing)," he said.

Thus, Manogaran told Sivarraajh to accept the fact that the allegations in court are mere testimonials by witnesses, and yet to be proven as truth by the court.

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