Sarawak to appeal court decision on Pujut seat


KUCHING: The Sarawak chief minister said the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government would appeal to the Federal Court against the decision of the Kuching High Court of ruling null and void the disqualification of Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut assemblyman by the State Legislative Assembly.

Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government respected the decision of the High Court but would appeal to the Federal Court.

“We will announce the decision (to appeal). The court was more focused on the point of law and the government will appeal to the Federal Court,” he told reporters after presenting Hari Raya aid to 400 recipients during the Satok Ihsan Ramadan programme, here, today.

Abang Johari, however, said he would not know when the appeal would be filed as it had to be discussed with the state attorney-general.

High Court judge Douglas Cristo Primus Sikayun had yesterday ruled as unlawful the State Legislative Assembly’s decision on May 12 to disqualify Dr Ting, from DAP, as Pujut assemblyman.

The court also reinstated Ting as Pujut assemblyman and there will be no by-election in this state constituency although the Election Commission (EC) had fixed June 20 for nomination and July 4 for polling.

On May 12, Ting was disqualified from being an assemblyman as he was alleged to have previously acquired dual citizenship (Malaysia and Australia), after a motion tabled by Sarawak Second Finance Minister Wong Soon Koh (named as second respondent) was passed with a 70-10 vote.

On June 7, Ting filed an originating summons in the High Court, here, to challenge the state assembly’s decision in disqualifying him as a member of the august house.

The judge also ordered state assembly speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and Sarawak Second Finance Minister Wong Soon Koh, the first and second defendant, to pay RM100,000 to the plaintiff (Dr Ting) in legal costs.

On another matter, Abang Johari said the state government was negotiating with AirAsia to build a low-cost terminal near Kuching International Airport (KIA).

The chief minister, however, said he would not know the cost and when the project would be implemented as it was still at the negotiating stage.

Abang Johari also announced at the event that Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) would develop the Satok Uptown site next to Brooke Dockyard at the Kuching Waterfront to resettle those traders who are temporarily trading at the car park of Dewan Suarah Kuching.