Two election petitions were filed in the Kota Kinabalu High Court in Sabah yesterday, both seeking order to declare the election of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Pensiangan parliamentary seat.
Kurup, who was declared winner of the seat uncontested, had been sworn-in before the King on March 18 as Federal Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister, is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president.
The petitioners are opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Danny Anthony Andipai and Independent Saineh Usau.
Andipai, accompanied by lawyer and Sabah PKR chief Haji Ansari Abdullah, named Returning Officer Bubudan OT Majalu and Kurup as the first and second respondents, respectively.
Usau through his lawyer Arthur Bonnie named the State Election Officer, Bubudan and Kurup as the first, second and third respondents, respectively.
Both the petitioners are contending that Bubudan had not conducted the election in accordance with the principal laid down under the provision under the Election Act, 1958 and the Elections (Conduct of Election) Regulations, 1981.
They claimed that their candidacies were rejected by Bubudan even though they had complied with all the requirement, amongst others, paid the RM10,000 deposit and another RM5,000 deposit for election materials.
Andipai and Usau claimed that initially the Returning Officer had refused to accept their nomination papers saying that they handed their papers minutes after nomination closed at 10am but were accepted after consulting their lawyers.
Their nomination papers and that of Kurup's were displayed on the notice board during the 10am-11am objection period which both petitioners claimed that they did not received any objection to their candidacies.
However, the Returning Officer announced that there was no contest as Andipai and Usau papers were rejected and their were disqualified from contesting. Kurup was declared the winner - uncontested.
On record, after Kurup was declared winner, he was punched by a member of the public and had to be escorted by police to his car. He had made a police report and that the country's top police officer had said that the `punching of Kurup' was one of the serious incident during the Feb 24, 2008 Nomination Day for the March 8, 2008 general elections.