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Mazu statue case: Sabah CM’s application rejected

KOTA KINABALU, 21 April 2009: The High Court here today dismissed an application by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and three others seeking to declare that the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation of which former Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat is the chairperson, is illegal.

In her ruling, Judicial Commissioner Yew Jen Kie said whether Chong has a locus standi in the suit and whether the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation, which Chong is chairperson, could legally challenge the suit could only be determined through evidence adduced in the trial.

Leading counsel for the applicants Datuk Mohammad Shafee Abdullah applied for a stay of proceeding in order to appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision.

However, Chong’s counsel Ansari Abdullah asked for a dismissal of the application and resume trial, which began since 12 Jan, until the court of appeal was in favour of the applicants.

But Mohammad Shafee stressed that should the trial resume, it would be a waste of time and money and therefore, asked for an interim stay of proceeding pending the applicants’ application at the court of appeal to which Yew rejected.

On 18 April, the court heard the application to strike out the suit by Chong, Sabah’s 13th Chief Minister (2001), who alleged that Musa and three others abused their power over the Mazu project.

They (applicants) contended that Chong did not have a locus standi in the suit since the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation had not been registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and, therefore, did not have the legality to challenge the decision to withdraw the approval given by the Kudat Town Board to the Foundation, to construct an 88-foot Mazu statue.

Mohammad Shafee insisted the Foundation be registered with ROS as it was a statutory requirement, including registering it under a Trustee Incorporated.

Ansari said the Foundation is a Private Trust in which Chong acts as a trustee and not as a member.

According to Ansari, there is no statutory requirement that one must  register a Trust under the Trustees Act or the Trustees Incorporation Ordinance, unless they wished to do so. — Bernama

 

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