The Federal Court today overturned a High Court decision to throw out PKR's petition disputing the May 5 election result for Bagan Datoh, which was won by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, now the home minister.

The five-member panel led by Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif ruled that anybody can file an election petition.

On Aug 15, Ipoh High Court judge Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid held that the petition for Bagan Datoh, filed by PKR candidate Madhi Hasan and voter Azmi Sulaiman, had failed to adhere to Rule 9 of the Election Petition Rules 1954 and the matter was thus not heard.

This rule requires the name of the petitioner's lawyer to be stated in the document and does not accept filings by law firms.

It was reported that the two election petitions for Bagan Datoh had accused Ahmad Zahid of spending more than the legally allowed amount for campaigning and for buying votes.

The petition stated that Ahmad Zahid spent up to RM2 million, while the limit set by the Election Commission is RM200,000 for a parliamentary seat.

The petitioners had used photographs in Ahmad Zahid's blog, which depicted him distributing aid in his constituency, as evidence.

In the May 5 general election, Ahmad Zahid has obtained 17,176 votes against 15,068 garnered by Madhi.

Other petitions ordered to be sent back to the Election Court, based on similar grounds, were for the Ketereh parliamentary constituency in Kelantan, and the Tapah Parliamentary and Lubuk Merbau state seats in Perak.

The Tapah election petition was filed by K. Vasantha Kumar.

Datuk M. Saravanan of Barisan Nasional, who is Youth and Sports Deputy Minister, won the seat.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court also ordered the High Court to hear the Lubok Merbau election petition. This seat was won by BN's Siti Salamah Mat Jusak, on a majority of just 53 votes against PAS' Mohd Zainuddin Mohd Yusof.

The Federal Court also dismissed appeals by BN for the Lembah Pantai and Batu seats held by PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar and Tian Chua respectively.

Nurul Izzah maintained her victory after the Federal Court dismissed an appeal by voter Mohamad Sazali Kamilan, returning officer Rolan Abd Rahman and the Election Commission on the grounds that the petition lacked material facts and it had no cause of action against the respondents.

Nurul defeated Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, the former Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing, with a majority of 1,847 votes.

The appeal for the Batu election petition was also dismissed by the court based on similar grounds. The seat was won by Tian Chua of PKR.

The court also dismissed the appeals for the Sungai Besar and Kuala Selangor parliamentary seats in Selangor, Bernama reported.

These appeals brought by two voters, Mat Ismail Nasir (Sungai Besar) and Muhammad Rashid Muhammad Kasim (Kuala Selangor), against the election court's decisions.

Therefore, the victories of BN candidates Noriah Kasnon (Sungai Besar) and Irmohizam Ibrahim (Kuala Selangor) have been maitained.

In an unanimous ruling, Justice Md Raus said the court had no reason to disturb the findings of the election courts which had struck out the petitions.

The court also ordered Mat Ismail and Muhammad Rashid to pay a total of RM60,000 to the six respondents, Noriah, Irmohizam, the Election Commission (in both the cases) and the two returning officers.- malaysiakini