PETALING JAYA: An emergency sitting of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly is imperative following the Kuching High Court’s decision to reinstate Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut assemblyman, says DAP.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen also gave Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg a two-week deadline to call for the emergency sitting, The Borneo Post reported.
On Saturday, the Kuching High Court ruled that the state legislative assembly has no express powers to act over election results, highlighting it is the exclusive right of the election court.
The DAP had sued the state legislative assembly after Ting was disqualified from being Pujut assemblyman under Article 17(1)(g) of the state constitution for voluntarily acquiring citizenship outside Malaysia.
The motion, tabled by Sarawak second finance minister Wong Soon Koh, was put to a vote and received the support of 70 Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers who voted in favour of it. All 10 opposition members voted against it.
Wong had said Ting acquired Australian citizenship on Jan 20, 2010, and only renounced it on April 4, 2016, a month before the Sarawak election on May 8.
Chong told a press conference at the DAP headquarters in Miri yesterday that Abang Johari cannot remain silent on the matter.
“He (Abang Johari) should provide an explanation for allowing such a ministerial motion to be tabled at the Sarawak legislative assembly.
“The Sarawak legislative assembly is in crisis for having allowed such a motion and the Speaker’s decision on the matter has been found to be unconstitutional and unlawful as well as misleading the Dewan,” Chong was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.
He also demanded the state government explain if it had consulted its attorney-general and legal advisers first before proceeding with the ministerial motion to disqualify Ting’s status as Pujut assemblyman.
“When the motion was brought, it caused shame to the Sarawak legislative assembly. Abang Johari as the chief minister of Sarawak must be accountable and answerable for the mess that has been created,” Chong said.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari told the media yesterday the state government respected the decision of the High Court but would file an appeal to the Federal Court, to maintain Ting’s disqualification from the state assembly.