Last-minute withdrawal comes with price, EC chief says

Independent candidate Abu Backer Sidek Mohamad Zan (right) will still lose his deposit even though he had annouced his withdrawal from contesting, unless he managed to get at least one-eighth of the votes cast, according to the election commission chairman. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Independent candidate Abu Backer Sidek Mohamad Zan (right) will still lose his deposit even though he had annouced his withdrawal from contesting, unless he managed to get at least one-eighth of the votes cast, according to the election commission chairman. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, May 25 — Independent candidate Abu Backer Sidek Mohammad Zan may have announced his decision to pull out from the four-cornered fight for Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat last night but his hat remains in the ring, according to the Election Commission.

As such, Abu Backer may lose his RM15,000 deposit paid up to contest in the polls, commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said.

“That’s why we keep saying, think long and hard before deciding to contest because after nomination, the candidate can’t withdraw from the election anymore,” he said in a press conference this morning.

He said all those whose names are announced during nomination day will be printed on the ballot papers.

“So, even if a candidate claimed he has withdrawn, voters can still vote for him because his name will still be in the ballot paper,” he added.

Yesterday evening, Abu Backer announced his decision to pull out from the four corner fight with DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh Deo, PCM’s Huan Cheng Guan and another independent candidate Mohd Nabi Bux Mohd Sathar.

The controversial lawyer, who had drawn attention after he threw himself in front of the Penang chief minister’s car on Tuesday, said he was disappointed at how his efforts at campaigning was blocked at every way so he decided to withdraw from the contest.

Abdul Aziz said the EC can’t take action against those who decided to withdraw from contesting at the 11th hour because they are deemed to be still contesting.

“As for their deposit, it depended on whether they get the required quota of votes,” he said.

In Abu Backer’s case, he said if voters voted for him under his horse logo and he managed to meet the quota of one eighth of the total votes, he might even get back his deposit.

“So even if he said he withdraw but if people still voted for him and he meets the minimum requirements, he might still get back his deposit,” he said.

Candidates have to submit a RM15,000 deposit to the EC when contesting in a parliamentary seat.

RM10,000 will be refunded if the candidate managed to garner more than one eighth of the votes from the total votes while the RM5,000 was deposit for candidates to remove their campaign materials within a stipulated period.

Today, despite Abu Backer’s announcement, ballot papers will still have four names and logos — Parti Cinta Malaysia Huan Cheng Guan, DAP Ramkarpal Singh Deo, Abu Backer with the horse logo and Mohd Nabi Bux Mohd Sathar with the hibiscus logo.

There a total 82,283 registered voters who will be casting their votes at a total 139 polling stations in the constituency.

Voting closes at 5pm.

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