Sabah’s 13 new seats: SAPP files appeal against court’s judgment

Yong Teck Lee (7th from right) outside the High Court Registry in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee and six others have filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike out their legal action against the prime minister and Election Commission (EC) today.

High Court judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli had on April 23 dismissed the group’s originating summons seeking the court’s order that the prime minister be compelled to table the EC’s report on the 13 new Sabah state assembly seats in Parliament.

Azhahari, in dismissing the group’s legal action, held that they had no locus standi to do so and that the issue was academic as Parliament had been dissolved on April 28.

The judge, however, agreed with the group’s contention that the prime minister had no discretion in not tabling the EC report as it was deemed mandatory, as spelled out under Section 9 of the 13th Schedule of the Constitution.

Yong said the group disagreed with Azhahari’s ruling that they had no locus standi and that the issue has become an academic one.

“We strongly believe that is not the case. As registered voters and citizens of Sabah, we have the right to protect the sanctity of the Sabah constitution, the honour of the Sabah legislative assembly and the dignity of the Sabah people,” he said when met outside the court.

He contended that although Parliament had been dissolved, the issue was not an academic exercise as a new Parliament is to be elected on May 9.

Thus, he said, it remained the constitutional duty of the new prime minister to respect the Sabah constitution and the people of Sabah by tabling the EC report and thus increasing the Sabah state assembly to 73 seats.

Yong, who is contesting the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat, said, as an MP, he would make sure the prime minister did that in the first session of Parliament.

“If the prime minister, whoever he is, refuses to table the EC report in Parliament, I and other MPs from Gabungan Sabah will move a motion of no confidence against the prime minister for failing to fulfil his constitutional duty to Sabah.”

The other plaintiffs in the legal action are SAPP vice-president Shuaib Mutalib, Gabungan Sabah secretary Edward Dagul and SAPP EC Matters Committee chairman Japiril Suhaimin.

Other plaintiffs were Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku deputy president Edward Linggu, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah Youth chief Jovilis Majami and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah executive secretary Anesthicia Usun.