KUCHING: Sarawak Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar says he will move to strike out any application of writ by the state DAP against himself and any other members of the state assembly regarding Friday’s dismissal of Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon.
“It’s up to him to go to court,” Asfia told a press conference at the assembly today, referring to state DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen.
“Because according to YB Chong, they want to take the speaker of the Dewan to court. Well, it’s up to them. If they file in the writ, our response is, we’ll make an application to strike off that writ.
“Our position is clear. We are acting within the purview and the ambit of the federal and the state constitution,” he said.
“Any questions? Because I want to clear the air. If we go to court, we are prepared.”
On Sunday, Chong said a legal team consisting of state DAP lawmakers would take legal action within a month to quash the decision to summarily dismiss Ting.
The party had described the dismissal as “morally wrong” and in breach of the constitutional role played by the state’s legislature.
When asked when he would be preparing his legal defence, Asfia said pursuant to DAP’s legal action.
He also maintained that the validity of proceedings in the assembly should not be questioned in any court, under Article 72(1) of the federal constitution.
“This is in line with the judgment in the case of Lim Cho Hock vs Speaker of Perak,” he said.
“The legislative assembly is the final arbiter in any question arising as to whether a member has become disqualified for membership.”
He added that it was the “exclusive jurisdiction” of the assembly and not the courts to determine such matters.
He maintained that Ting immediately forfeited and lost his Malaysian citizenship under Article 24(1) of the federal constitution when he took on Australian citizenship.
That law states: “If the federal government is satisfied that any citizen has acquired by registration, naturalisation or other voluntary and formal act (other than marriage) the citizenship of any country outside the federation, the federal government may by order deprive that person of his citizenship.”
Singling out the word “may” in the provision, Chong said the law did not explicitly say a Malaysian would automatically be stripped of his citizenship should the person become a citizen of another country that recognises dual citizenship.
DAP lawmakers have said the matter of interpreting the federal and state constitutions is under the purview of the Federal Court alone.
Meanwhile, Asfia said he had officially notified the Election Commission (EC) that the Pujut seat is vacant.
EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the commission would hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the by-election for Pujut, which must be held 60 days from today.