BN, STAR reps to boycott special Sabah assembly sitting

Sabah Umno treasurer Hajiji Mohd Noor and STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan say the special sitting is illegal.

KOTA KINABALU: Assemblymen elected under the Barisan Nasional ticket and from its ally, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), have decided to boycott a special state legislative assembly scheduled for tomorrow.

In a joint statement here today, Sabah Umno treasurer Hajiji Mohd Noor and STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan said the assemblymen also threw their support behind Sabah BN chairman Musa Aman as the legitimate Sabah chief minister.

Hajiji and Kitingan, both of whom were appointed deputy chief ministers under Musa’s state cabinet, said the sitting was a feeble attempt to create a false legitimacy for Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal as the chief minister.

“The hastily convened, albeit illegal, legislative assembly special sitting is nothing more than a contemptuous attempt to derail the court proceedings initiated by Musa to determine the validity of the two swearing-ins of chief ministers of Sabah.

“As it is an unlawful sitting, we, the assemblymen under BN and of STAR have all agreed to uphold the rule of law and the Sabah constitution, (thus) we will not attend or participate in the sitting,” they said.

Hajiji and Kitingan said the notice calling for the special sitting contravened Order No 6 of the standing orders of the legislate assembly which requires notice to be given 21 days prior to a sitting.

This is unless in cases of emergency where the Sabah governor may dispense with the need for such notices.

Hajiji and Kitingan said in the current situation, the notice was only given six days before the sitting despite there not being an emergency.

“Even if the Sabah governor is required to dispense with the 21-day notice, he will be required to act on the advice of the chief minister and his Cabinet in accordance with Articles 10(1) and 10(1A) of the Sabah Constitution.

“Musa and his state Cabinet have given no such advice.

“If the governor has acted on the advice of Shafie, he is acting upon the advice of an unlawful chief minister as Musa is still the lawfully sworn-in chief minister.

“It goes without saying that as it is an unlawful sitting, all laws, motions and business passed and adopted are unlawful and null and void and of no effect,” they said.

Under Article 21(4) of the Sabah constitution, the legislative assembly is only required to be summoned to meet not later than 120 days from the date of the dissolution of the assembly.

The state assembly was dissolved on April 7 to pave the way for the 14th general election (GE14). The 120-day deadline falls on Aug 6.

Hajiji and Kitingan both believed that a constitutional crisis was triggered on May 12 with the swearing-in of Shafie.

“To prevent Sabah from descending into a ‘banana republic’ and attracting world attention for all the wrong reasons, we humbly call for Shafie Apdal and his purported Cabinet to abide by the state constitution,” they said in the statement.

Hajiji and Kitingan pointed out that Shafie should be patient and wait his turn to table his motion of no-confidence against Musa in a properly convened assembly sitting.

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