(17 September 2002)

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee has applied for a royal pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri in a bid to keep the Gaya parliamentary and Likas state seats.

He sent a petition for a royal pardon to Istana Negara yesterday and another to Istana Negeri two days ago.

Explaining his decision to seek a royal pardon, Yong said there had been a “miscarriage of justice” and the Election Court judge who found him guilty was apparently biased as he considered totally irrelevant factors.

“None of the evidence was linked to me personally... the consequent punishment was grossly unfair and manifestly unjust, the former Sabah Chief Minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

“There was no offence concerning phantom voters or bribery of voters at all found against me.”

Earlier, Yong met Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tun Dr Mohamed Zahir Ismail to brief him on the action he had taken.

On June 8 last year Election Court Judge Muhammad Kamil Awang declared the March 1999 election result for Likas seat null and void after finding Yong guilty of committing several election offences.

On Sept 3 this year, the Federal Court rejected Yong’s application for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the Election Court ruling that he had committed corrupt practice.

The Federal Court decision means that Yong would lose his seats 14 days after the ruling.

On Friday, Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Abdullah Zawawi Mohamed confirmed that Yong would lose the Gaya seat today (Wednesday) as provided for by the law.

He said a by-election would be called within 60 days of the seat falling vacant.

Mohamed Zahir told reporters that Yong had given him a copy of his petition for a royal pardon.

And because of the petition, Yong would remain a Member of Parliament for Gaya until the Pardons Board had made its decision.

“To my mind, he can remain a member of the Dewan Rakyat and attend sittings,” he said.

“Today, he filed a petition for a pardon, and I think Yong should inform the Election Commission (EC) of his initiative, and it’s not the Dewan Rakyat which should give notice.”

In Kota Kinabalu, Attorney-General Datuk Abdul Gani Patail said he would meet the EC first before commenting on the latest development.

“Let me have a meeting with the Election Commission first. I have no comment at the moment,” he told reporters at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport before leaving for Kuala Lumpur.

Gani was asked if there was a provision under the law that allows Yong to seek a royal pardon after being found guilty of committing corrupt practice under the Election Offences Act.

Asked when the meeting with the EC would be held, Gani said: “Let’s have a look at things in a proper way.”

“There are always legal aspects to be dealt with and so on,” he said. – Bernama & KAMARUDDIN LIUSIN

Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Memberof Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas






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