GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here fixed Sept 18 to decide on the preliminary objections raised against the election petition filed by Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya, who is challenging the general election results for the Tasik Gelugor parliamentary seat.
Justice Hashim Hamzah, who sat as the Election Court judge, will decide on a preliminary objection raised by incumbent Datuk Shabudin Yahaya of Barisan Nasional, who was named first respondent in the petition.
Shabudin’s lawyer Simon Tan said in his submissions that the petition by Marzuki was not precise and had cited the wrong section.
“The petition is defective, it is not precise, the rule they cited is wrong.
“The petition asked the returning officer to recount the votes.
“Only the presiding officer can do the recount at the respective polling stations,” he said in court yesterday.
Tan argued that the demand for the returning officer to perform the recount was faulty as it was not the official’s duty to do so.
Earlier, the court was told that the second and third respondents – the returning officer for Tasek Gelugor and the Malaysian Election Commission respectively, had withdrawn their preliminary objections against the petition even though they had presented their written submissions for the preliminary objections.
Marzuki’s counsel, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, urged the court to not only look at the technical points of the petition, but to look at it on the whole.
He submitted that Marzuki only lost by 81 votes which is 0.001% of the total 51,904 votes.
“For the sake of justice and public interest of the voters, the courts should let the case proceed to hearing proper.
“We are grateful to the second and third respondents for withdrawing their preliminary objections,” Muhammad Rafique said.
He added that although it was said that only the presiding officer can conduct the recount at the respective polling stations, “the allegations here was that they had only discovered the inconsistency at the tallying centre.”
Marzuki filed an election petition to recount 689 spoilt votes and 297 unreturned (postal) votes after losing to Shabudin.
Shabudin received 18,547 votes against Marzuki’s 18,466 votes while Rizal Hafiz Ruslan from PAS received 14,891 votes.
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