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tate DAP deputy chairman M. Manogaran said they welcomed MIC’s challenge to let the people decide on the outcome in a by-election instead of taking the matter to court. Pic by NSTP/ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ

KUANTAN: Although surprised over MIC’s move not to appeal against the Election Court’s decision to declare the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat vacant, Pahang DAP is all set to go into battle.

State DAP deputy chairman M. Manogaran said they welcomed MIC’s challenge to let the people decide on the outcome in a by-election instead of taking the matter to court.

“I am surprised that they choose not to appeal. I thought they will appeal and the process will require some time. Instead, they want the people to decide and not the court. We in Pakatan Harapan (PH) are prepared for the challenge.

“However, it will be tough. There could be independent candidates prompting a five-corner contest similar to what happened in the last general election (GE14). PAS will most likely stay away from contesting and support the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate,” he said when contacted today.

The Cameron Highlands seat, won by MIC's Datuk C Sivarraajh in GE14, was declared vacant by the Election Court on Nov 30 and MIC announced yesterday that the party would not appeal the decision.

Following Sivarraajh’s victory in May, DAP's Cameron Highlands candidate Manogaran filed a petition seeking a declaration that the result of the Cameron Highlands parliamentary election was null and void.

Manogaran had accused Sivarraajh of violating the Election Offences Act 1954 by allegedly bribing voters among the Orang Asli community in the constituency.

Manogaran had claimed that Sivarraajh, who campaigned alongside Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, had paid Orang Asli constituents between RM30 and RM1,000 through several Tok Batins (community chiefs) to ensure that they would vote for BN.

Sivarraajh won the seat with 10,307 votes, while Manogaran garnered 9,710. PAS candidate Wan Mahadir Wan Mahmud polled 3,587 votes, Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) B Suresh Kumar (680), and Berjasa candidate Mohd Tahir Kassim (81).

Meanwhile, Manogaran said he hopes to be third time lucky and picked to contest the by-election especially after losing the parliamentary seat in two previous general elections.

“I will be glad to be the candidate but let's wait for the leadership to make an announcement,” he said.

Meanwhile, state MIC chairman V. Arumugam said Pahang MIC were ready to roll out its election machinery and throw its support behind any candidate chosen by the party’s leadership.

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