Form 14s from Tasek Gelugor brought to court as lawyers sworn to secrecy

Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla (second from right) with his team of lawyers at the courthouse in George Town. With him are Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (left) and Muhammad Rafique Ali (right).

GEORGE TOWN: The Election Commission (EC) today handed over the documents related to the vote count for the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat to the Election Court as recently ordered by an election judge.

The documents were brought to the Auction Room at the High Court building here at about 11am, in the presence of lawyers from all sides of the election petition. No other members of the public were allowed inside.

The petition was filed by Tasek Gelugor’s PPBM candidate Marzuki Yahya, who called for a recount following the 81-vote majority win by Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Shabudin Yahaya.

Marzuki’s lead counsel Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the documents brought to court were the Form 14s, which show the final tally of votes in each polling district.

Tasek Gelugor Umno secretary Zamri Che Ros was one of the few BN representatives present at the courthouse today.

He said the documents were revealed before High Court senior assistant registrar Mohd Ridzwan Salleh, with copies given to the three parties in the petition: Marzuki, Shabudin, and the Election Commission.

The original documents were placed in the safe at the High Court after copies were made.

According to Haniff, the lawyers involved in the case were also told to take an oath of non-disclosure not to reveal the contents of the forms until the next court hearing on Jan 14.

“On Jan 14, we will return here and talk more about it. I am not a liberty to reveal how many forms there are, their details or anything else until proceedings begin,” Haniff said in a press conference outside the courtroom today.

Haniff led a team of lawyers comprising Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq and Muhammad Rafique Ali. Shabudin was represented by Simon Tan while Sathya Kumardas appeared for the EC.

It is learnt that the present process is not a vote recount, only a “scrutiny” of details on the Form 14s.

Marzuki’s petition was initially dismissed by the Election Court over technicalities. However, he appealed against the decision at the Federal Court, which ordered a re-trial as the matter concerned the number of votes.

The Election Court then gave the nod to Marzuki’s lawyers to have the forms brought to court.

The deputy foreign minister, who was made a senator, filed the petition for a recount of 689 spoilt votes and 297 unreturned postal votes.

In the 14th general election, Shabudin garnered 18,547 votes while Marzuki received 18,466 and PAS’ Rizal Hafiz Ruslan received 14,891.