9-day trial for Tasek Gelugor election petition

Marzuki Yahya’s lawyers Haniff Khatri Abdullah (left) and Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali (middle) with Shabudin Yahaya’s lawyer Simon Tan (right) at a court proceeding earlier this month. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The election petition for a recount of votes filed by PPBM’s Tasek Gelugor candidate, Marzuki Yahya, will go to trial again with five witnesses expected to take the stand.

Marzuki’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said election judge Hashim Hamzah made the ruling in chambers this morning, setting nine days for the trial from Feb 25 to March 1, and March 12 to 15.

Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Haniff said the court would reconvene for case management on Feb 15, when the relevant documents would be submitted.

Aside from the five witnesses, he said, Marzuki might testify as well.

Marzuki had petitioned for a recount of votes after Barisan Nasional candidate Shabudin Yahaya won the seat with a majority of 81 votes.

Shabudin’s lawyer, Simon Tan, was also present at the courthouse today.

Regarding the Form 14s which were brought to court on Jan 2, Haniff said he was still not at liberty to disclose details.

The forms, which tabulate the polling numbers from each district, were brought to court following a request by Marzuki’s lawyers.

Lawyers from all parties said they were made to take an oath of secrecy on details pertaining to the forms until the trial begins.

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 retrial.

Election petition cases go straight to the apex court for appeal.

Marzuki, who was appointed as deputy foreign minister after being made a senator, filed the petition for a recount of 689 spoilt votes and 297 unreturned postal votes.

He received 18,466 votes in the May 9 polls last year, while Shabudin garnered 18,547 and PAS’ Rizal Hafiz Ruslan received 14,891.