Former rep criticises appointment of second Sabah CM

Former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang says the governor crossed the boundary of his discretionary powers. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: A former assemblyman has criticised the appointment of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Shafie Apdal as chief minister just days after Musa Aman was appointed to the position.

Former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang said Sabah head of state Juhar Mahiruddin had crossed the boundary of his discretionary powers.

“He should revoke his second appointment pending the outcome of a no-confidence vote in the state legislative assembly and to avoid prolonging the constitutional crisis arising from the appointment of the second chief minister,” he said in a statement.

“Sabah is once again in a constitutional crisis that could have been avoided if the governor (Juhar) had not appointed two chief ministers within days of each other.”

Ligunjang said the head of state had legitimised the government of Sabah by appointing Musa as the chief minister.

“It cannot be said that his appointment is illegal and not legitimate because at the time of the swearing-in on May 10, 2018, Tan Sri Musa had the majority of the elected representatives with him and without anyone hopping over,” said the former representative.

“The governor, after swearing in the chief minister and his state cabinet, having formed a properly, valid and legitimately constituted government, would have no power to dismiss or remove the sitting chief minister.

“The governor does not have the discretionary power to remove the sitting chief minister. The power lies with the legislative assembly, through a vote of no confidence.”

Sacking and replacing Musa, according to Ligunjang, is tantamount to robbing the power of the assembly to remove the chief minister.

“The question arises what will happen if tomorrow Musa Aman has another 32 names pledging their allegiance? Will the governor appoint Musa as the chief minister again?

“Any claimant to the chief minister’s post must first get the endorsement of the assembly through a no-confidence vote, as provided for in the state constitution, with the governor having the liberty to appoint a new chief minister who in his judgement commands the confidence of the majority of the elected assemblymen.

“That is how it works in established and mature democracies.”

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