GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today fixed five days for the trial of the defamation suit brought by Consortium Zenith-BUCG Sdn Bhd against Parti Cinta Malaysia deputy president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan.

Judge Datuk Rosilah Yop fixed Oct 29 to Nov 2 this year for trial when the case was brought up for case management in chambers.

A total of 10 witnesses will be called upon to testify in the case, including two federal ministers from the Prime Minister's Department and the Works Ministry.

"The list of witnesses to be called to testify, has yet to be finalised.

"We are looking at a few notable names as well but it is up to my client," Huan's counsel, Datuk Baljit Singh, told newsmen outside the courtroom.

Besides Baljit, Huan is also represented by Low Joo Hean, while Mohd Shahrul Fazli and Mohd Haziq Razali appeared for Consortium Zenith-BUCG.

Consortium Zenith-BUCG, the company which was awarded the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel and three paired roads projects, had filed a defamation suit on Aug 11, 2016 against Huan.

The company also named Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd as the defendant.

They filed an injunction to prevent Huan from making further statements on the project.

Huan lost the bid to strike out the injunction on Sept 14 last year.

Previously, Huan had allegedly said that the amount paid by the state government for the engineering studies, at RM208.8 million, was between 8 per cent and 11 per cent of the construction cost of the three paired roads which measure 20.3km in length.

He had claimed that this was against the gazetted scale of fees agreed by the Works Ministry and the Board of Engineers Malaysia.

In September last year, the company requested that the Penang government withdraw the Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) from the consortium following a deadly accident at a construction site in Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur, where a crane fell onto a car, killing the driver.

BUCG was reported to have hired the crane operator involved the accident.

Since the withdrawal, Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd is now known as Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

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Lawyers Datuk Baljit Singh (left) and Low Joo Hean appeared at the court for case manegement on defamation suit case between Consortium Zenith-BUCG Sdn Bhd and Parti Cinta Malaysia vice president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan at Penang High Court, George Town. Pix by Mikail Ong

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