Election Court decision unfair, says Warisan’s Sipitang candidate

KOTA KINABALU: The Warisan candidate for the Sipitang parliamentary seat, Noor Hayaty Mustapha, expressed surprise over the Election Court’s decision to strike out her election petition today, saying no such application was made by the respondent.

In a statement following the striking out of her petition by Kuching-based judge Azahari Kamal Ramli, Noor Hayaty said she was present when the proceedings took place.

“The Election Court judge stood the matter down for more than half an hour to consider whether to grant an adjournment of the trial dates this week.

“I believe the way this election petition was struck out was unfair and unjust.

“I would note that the solicitors for the respondents in the election petition did not even request that the election petition be struck out,” she said.

Noor Hayaty said that after returning from a break, the judge indicated that he was not agreeable to grant an adjournment and immediately proceeded to strike out the petition without asking if her solicitors were ready to proceed with the trial.

Earlier this morning, Azahari had struck out the petition citing non-compliance of the court’s instructions as the petitioner was not ready with the witness statements.

He also dismissed an application from Noor Hayaty’s legal team to have the case adjourned.

Noor Hayaty said her lawyers had suggested to the judge to postpone the trial dates so that the hearing could proceed smoothly.

This was because her lawyers were only granted an order from the court to check Election Commission (EC) documents on April 2 and allowed to inspect copies of the documents from the EC just before 7pm on April 5.

She said the solicitors for both parties had indicated that, if Azahari were to grant an adjournment, they would be available for trial from May 7 to 10.

She said her lawyers had asked at least 15 witnesses to give evidence this week.

Noor Hayaty filed the petition for the seat against Yamani Hafez Musa, the son of former chief minister Musa Aman, who had 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 Federal Court later ordered the petition to be remitted to the Election Court for trial.