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Zaid Ibrahim To Fight Poll Defeat In Court

A Malaysian opposition politician who lost a recent special election said he would ask a court to nullify the result, claiming he was a victim of vote buying and other irregularities that favored the ruling party.

Zaid Ibrahim, who has been tipped as a future party leader, lost Sunday’s election to the ruling National Front coalition. The parliamentary seat in the rural Hulu Selangor constituency had been held by an opposition lawmaker who died last month, resulting in the special election.

Zaid said in a statement he would file a petition in court to contest the result because “blatant bribery” by Prime Minister Najib Razak and his campaign workers cost him a fair fight.

Najib’s aide, who declined to be named citing protocol, said Zaid’s claim was baseless and a “typical opposition cry.”

“It’s an insult to the Hulu Selangor electorate. … You got to give more credit to the electorate. They know who to pick,” he said.

A former law minister in the National Front government, Zaid has been tipped as a potential successor to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is on trial for alleged sodomy, one of the many troubles facing his People’s Alliance coalition.

Zaid said he would take legal action against the Election Commission, claiming it was biased.

Election Commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohamad Yusof denied the allegations. Election petitions based on claims of irregularities have rarely succeeded.

“As far as the Election Commission is concerned, we are fair to everybody. We are professional in our work,” Abdul Aziz told The Associated Press.

Zaid alleged that names of voters were removed from the electoral roll without their knowledge, and that voters were intimidated, bribed or showered with inducements to influence their choice.

Zaid received 23,272 votes, while P. Kamalanathan, a politician from the Indian component party of the National Front coalition, got 24,997.

Zaid said he would also sue the government-linked daily Utusan Malaysia for calling him an alcoholic. During his campaign, Zaid, a Muslim Malay, had admitted to drinking alcohol in the past. But Zaid said he had since repented. Malaysian law bars Mulsims from drinking alcohol in public.

Source : Associated Press

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