Court strikes out election petition for Sipitang parliamentary seat

KOTA KINABALU: The Election Court today struck out the election petition for the Sipitang parliamentary seat over abuse of process as the petitioner was not ready with the relevant documents, including witness statements.

Kuching-based judge Azahari Kamal Ramli also dismissed an application from Noor Hayaty Mustapha of Warisan to have the case adjourned.

Noor Hayaty filed the petition for the seat against Yamani Hafez Musa, the son of former chief minister Musa Aman. Yamani won the seat on a Barisan Nasional ticket in the general election last year.

The Election Court here struck out the petition with costs on Oct 15 last year. But the Putrajaya Federal Court later ordered the election petition to be remitted to the Election Court for trial.

The trial was supposed to run from April 8 to 12, June 17 to 28, July 1 to 12, and 23 to 31.

Yamani’s lead counsel, Jeyan Marimuttu, said the petitioner’s legal team was supposed to file their witness statements and other related documents seven days before the trial.

“But no witness statements were filed,” he told reporters here today.

“And they were given time to inspect Form 13 and 14, which they did (last week). But there have been no documents filed in court on that, either… we were ready to exchange our witness statements,” he added.

“Obviously they were in breach of court orders, therefore the petition was struck out with no orders to cost.”

Tengku Fuad Ahmad, who was also on Yamani’s legal team, said the petitioner had had ample time to prepare the necessary documents for trial.

“The judge also said the inability to produce these documents was seen as an abuse of process, with (the petitioner) not ready for trial.”

Yamani, a first-term MP, won the seat by 852 votes, polling 12,038 against his closest challenger Noor Hayaty who obtained 11,186 votes.

Meanwhile, the election petition for the Kimanis parliamentary seat won by former Umno federal minister Anifah Aman is still ongoing.

Warisan candidate Karim Bujang had filed the case against Anifah.

The initial petition was also struck out by the Election Court here on Nov 19 last year. This was later overturned by the Federal Court, which also ordered the petition to be remitted to the court here for trial.

The trial will run from April to June.