Barisan and Opposition to resolve 19 election petition appeals amicably

PUTRAJAYA - The Barisan Nasional and the Opposition pact are discussing a possible "global settlement" to resolve 19 election petition appeals that have yet to be decided by the Federal Court.

Barisan lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin said they are hoping to resolve the issue amicably.

"I think it is a positive way for all to move on," he said, adding that the parties concerned were all in agreement to discuss the matter.

"We are optimistic about it," he told reporters after the appeals were called before a five-man panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Justice Raus Sharif yesterday.

A global settlement refers to an agreement between concerned parties after all sides address or compromise over the relevant matters accordingly.

Justice Raus set Dec 2 for the parties to inform the court on the outcome of their discussion.

Barisan co-counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said the Barisan had filed fewer than 20 election petitions, of which four were pending appeals.

"The court should not be used as a forum to change the government," he said.

Mohd Hafarizam said the petition appeals cover, among others, the state seats of Selama and Manong and parliamentary seats Bagan Datoh, Machang, Ketereh, Batu, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Selangor and Titiwangsa.

PAS lawyer Hisham Fauzi told the media he has to get instructions from the party first as the Barisan had offered to withdraw its appeals.

"Our petitions have been struck out due to the Barisan's objection regarding the appointment of solicitors. Filing of petitions must be done by the petitioner and the petitions must be served by the petitioner himself.

"We have asked the apex court to decide over this issues as we feel that certain provisions under the election petition rules cannot overrule the right to counsel under the Federal Constitution and provisions under the Legal Profession Act; any lawyer can appear for any case," said Hisham.

Besides that, he said the Opposition was concerned over the high cost imposed when petitions are struck out by the High Court in certain states.

Lawyer Edmund Bon, who acted for two PKR petitions, said they had agreed to discuss the global settlement.