PETALING JAYA: Warisan chief Shafie Apdal, prevented from becoming Sabah chief minister yesterday, can either file suit for a declaration that the Governor was wrong, or seek a vote in the state assembly, a retired judge said today.
Last night, Sabah BN chairman Musa Aman took his oath of office after showing the governor, Juhar Mahiruddin, that he had a majority in the state assembly with the support of two STAR assemblymen.
There had been a deadlock after the general election on Wednesday with 29 seats each going to BN and Warisan and its allies PKR and DAP, with STAR winning 2 seats.
Retired federal court judge Gopal Sri Ram said Shafie could seek a court declaration that the governor was wrong in appointing Musa.
He said the head of state could not revoke Musa’s appointment, even if Shafie now showed he had majority support. “It is not like you are appointing a gardener or driver and then sacking him,” Sri Ram said.
Or, Shafie could wait for the state assembly to be convened, and table a motion of no confidence against Musa.
“However, Musa would take his time in order to strengthen his position,” Sri Ram said. The Sabah constitution also allows the chief minister to nominate six others to become assemblymen.
If the motion against Musa was carried, he could request the Governor to dissolve the house and pave the way for a fresh election, or resign, after which Shafie could be invited to form a new government.
The Sabah case is similar to one in 2009 when two Pakatan Rakyat members of the Perak assembly crossed to BN, causing the Pakatan state government to lose its majority.
Sri Ram criticised as “a bizarre decision” a 2010 Federal Court ruling on the Perak case in which Zambry Abdul Kadir of Barisan Nasional was declared the rightful menteri besar.
Sri Ram said Pakatan Rakyat’s Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin should have been allowed to be tested on the floor of the assembly by way of a confidence vote.