Musa’s son keeps seat as apex court throws out election challenge

Sipitang MP Yamani Hafez Musa (third right) with his team of lawyers at the Kota Kinabalu court complex today.

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Court today struck out an appeal challenging the election victory of Yamani Hafez Musa – the son of former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman – who won the Sipitang seat in the May polls last year.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led a five-member panel, dismissed the appeal with RM40,000 in costs to Yamani.

Mohd Azhier Farhan Arisin, one of those who represented Yamani, said the court was not persuaded by the appeal of petitioner Noor Hayaty Mustapha of Warisan that the Election Court had erred when it made its decision previously.

The panel also awarded costs of RM30,000 to the second and third respondents — returning officer Matlin Dullah and the Election Commission respectively.

Another lawyer representing Yamani, Tengku Fuad Ahmad, said the court also felt that Noor Hayaty was not ready for trial.

“The petitioner was given directions on multiple occasions to be ready for trial but they were not heeded,” he added.

Speaking outside the court, Yamani said he was relieved that the episode was over.

“It has been a long trial as it went all the way to the Federal Court. We had a great team, good lead counsel and lawyers … I’m very happy with the results,” he said.

Yamani’s other lawyers were Jeyan Marimuttu, the lead counsel, Tengku Fuad Ahmad, Rizwandean M Borhan and Reduan Akiee. Chung Jin Dau appeared for Noor Hayaty.

The Election Court had on April 8 struck out the election petition for the Sipitang parliamentary seat, citing abuse of process as the petitioner was not ready with the relevant documents, including witness statements.

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

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

Yamani won the seat on a Barisan Nasional ticket in the general election last year. He then applied to join PPBM. Although he was told his application had been accepted, he recently said he was unsure of his position as he was still being seated with the independents.