BN chairperson Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has slammed the marching orders given to Cameron Highlands MP C Sivarraajh from the Dewan Rakyat, earlier today.
In a statement this evening, Zahid said that the MIC vice-president had every right to be in the house since the 14-day period given to him to appeal against a court ruling that declared his seat vacant following corrupt practices was still valid.
“I, as the BN chairperson, take seriously the order for Cameron Highlands MP C Sivarraajh to leave the Dewan Rakyat as it goes against Article 50 of the Federal Constitution.
“This is because the declaration that the Cameron Highlands seat win was null and void is still being appealed, and he (Sivarraajh) is still a valid MP.
“There is no reason for Sivarraajh to be asked to leave based on the pressure by Jelutong MP RSN Rayer without parliamentary provisions being taken into account,” said Zahid, who is also Umno president.
According to Article 50 of the constitution, if a member of either House of Parliament is disqualified, his seat shall become vacant.
Earlier today, Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Mohd Yusof asked Sivarraajh to leave the House pending clarification on whether the Election Court had issued a stay order on its declaration that the Cameron Highlands seat was vacant until the appeal process is concluded.
Last Friday, the Election Court in Kuala Lumpur declared the Cameron Highlands parliament seat vacant and ordered for a re-election.
Justice Azizah Nawawi said DAP candidate M Manogaran proved that there were corrupt practices which led to BN candidate Sivarraajh winning the seat in the May 9 general election.
Appeal still pending
Zahid stressed that the 14-day appeal period, which Sivarraajh was entitled to, was not yet over.
“The candidate can file an appeal notice within 14 days from the date of the decision as stipulated under Section 36A(2) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
“Section 36C of the same Act says that the election judge’s decision is only enforceable if there is no appeal filed in the 14 days after the date of the decision.
“Therefore, the declaration that his (Sivarraajh’s) win in Cameron Highlands is null and void, is not linked to his presence in the Dewan Rakyat as he will file an appeal within 14 days,” said Zahid.
“According to Article 50 of the Federal Constitution, the Cameron Highlands parliament seat cannot be vacated until the election judge secures a ruling of his appeal at the Federal Court.
“The Dewan Rakyat Speaker should allow Sivarraajh to attend parliamentary proceedings as stipulated under election rules,” he added.
Prosecute those responsible
Meanwhile, electoral watchdog Bersih urged both Sivarraajh and Pahang menteri besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail to be prosecuted following the court ruling that found corrupt practices had contributed to Sivarraajh's win of the parliamentary seat.
In a statement today, the Bersih steering committee said the duo, and anyone else found involved in bribing voters, should be booked under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act.
“Those found guilty of bribery offences shall be liable to imprisonment for up to two years, a fine up to RM5,000 and the removal of the right to vote or be elected in an election for five years. As for Wan Rosdy, his seat shall be vacated upon conviction, too,” said Bersih.
Orang Asli witnesses had previously testified that they were given money by either three-term Jelai assemblyperson Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail or his agent and that Wan Rosdy had reminded them to vote for BN.
“May this case serve as a timely reminder to all political parties and future election candidates that electoral offences will not be condoned and those implicated whether they are from the ruling or opposition parties must be punished under the law in order to uphold the integrity of the elections,” said Berish.