KUCHING: Dr Ting Tiong Choon, who was restored by the High Court today as the rightfully elected representative of the state constituency of Pujut, hopes the case will serve as a lesson to other parties in following proper procedures.
“I have not done anything wrong and have not wronged the people of Pujut…and I slept well every night before the proceeding today,” he told reporters outside the court here today.
Ting was disqualified as Pujut assemblyman on May 12 following a motion tabled by Second Finance Minister Wong Soon Koh alleging that he was holding dual citizenship (Malaysian and Australian).
He subsequently filed an originating summons in the Kuching High Court to challenge the state legislative assembly’s decision.
Meanwhile, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen concurred that the case was a lesson to everyone “to respect the laws, the constitution, the principle of natural justice and reasonableness in decisions, policies and the laws”.
Ting’s leading counsel, Chong Siew Chiang, said Ting won the case for various reasons including the interpretation of the constitution and natural justice.
He said assembly Speaker Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar did not give sufficient time to Ting to defend himself when the motion was moved at 10.30am and hurriedly made the verdict to disqualify him.
“So when that was not granted, the speaker had broken the first link of natural justice. Another one was, he cannot be the judge of his own case, and in this case the speaker was the prosecutor and also the judge, which is not allowed because it is against the second link of natural justice,” he said.
He also pointed to the judge’s finding that the speaker had wrongly interpreted the law, in particular, Article 23(1) and 24(1) of the Federal Constitution.
“We are very happy about it (court’s decision) and, most importantly, the judge has been working very hard to expedite the case.
“The decision was supposed to be made on Monday, but he did it today, and by virtue of his judgement today, he saved a lot of labour, money, time and work, not only for the government but also all the parties concerned.
“If he had delivered his judgement on Monday, you can imagine there would be a lot of money spent for nothing,” he concluded.