EC surrenders Tasek Gelugor polls’ vote tally forms to Election Court

(From left) Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, Yakif Rusli, Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq and lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdullah arrive at the Penang High Court in George Town January 2, 2019. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
(From left) Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, Yakif Rusli, Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq and lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdullah arrive at the Penang High Court in George Town January 2, 2019. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 2 ― The Election Commission (EC) today presented original copies of Form 14, which are the official vote tally sheets, for the Tasek Gelugor polls last year to the Election Court for scrutiny by lawyers in an election petition.

A total 136 copies of Form 14 from the three state constituencies under the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary constituency, namely Permatang Berangan, Sungai Dua and Telok Ayer Tawar, were unsealed and handed over at the Penang High Court at 11am.

It took about two hours for lawyers representing the petitioner, Senator Datuk Marzuki Yahya, and the respondents, Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya and the EC, to make photocopies of the documents.

“Original copies of the Form 14 will be kept under lock in the vault at the Election Court,” said lead counsel for Marzuki, Haniff Khatri.

He told reporters outside the courtroom that there was a provision under the Election Act that prohibited documents in the General Election from being divulged to the public.

“So all lawyers present in court took an oath that no party can divulge the details of the Form 14 or reveal copies of the forms to the public until further instructions are made during case management on January 14,” he said.

He confirmed that each lawyer representing the petitioner and respondents made copies of the document for further scrutiny.

“EC also made copies to be kept as the original copies are kept by the court,” he said.

The breaking of the seal and presenting of the forms was held in chambers but there was no recount of the tabulated votes on the documents.

Marzuki had filed an election petition against the Tasek Gelugor election results but it was thrown out by the Election Court in September last year.

Marzuki, who was also represented by Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali and Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq, filed an appeal to the Federal Court which overturned the earlier decision and ruled that the case must be heard in a full trial by the Election Court.

Last month, Election Court Judge Datuk Hashim Hamzah gave a consent order for all Form 14 under Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat to be opened for scrutiny before a High Court Senior Assistant Registrar.

Azlina pointed out that today’s court appearance was only for the breaking of the seal and production of the Form 14 by EC.

She stressed that it was not a recount but only for the lawyers involved in the petition to make copies of the document for closer scrutiny.

“This is to assist in our preparation for the hearing of the case,” she said.

Shabudin is represented by Simon Tan, while Marina Nasution represented the EC.

Lawyers from both sides are expected to make representations in court on January 14 based on the details they obtained from the Form 14 today.