Sabah state assembly convened minus Musa

KOTA KINABALU: All but one assemblyman from the opposition parties attended the second state assembly sitting today after boycotting the first meeting on June 11.

Former chief minister Musa Aman, who retained his Sungai Sibuga state seat, had also been missing when 19 out of the 21 opposition assemblymen took their oaths of office on June 12, a day after the special assembly meeting last month.

The other assemblyman who has yet to take his oath is Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan, who was on pilgrimage when the other opposition representatives were sworn in.

According to Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also Tambunan assemblyman, all 20 opposition representatives were asked to be sworn in again earlier this morning before the opening ceremony began.

Speaking to reporters after the head of state policy speech, Jeffrey said the oath-taking ceremony was held in the state assembly hall.

“We received the notice a few days ago telling us to come here today to be sworn in again, which we all did at around 8am,” he said. He added that at the time, no representatives from the government were present.

He said the presence of the opposition representatives at the sitting this morning did not mean that they were admitting they were the opposition and that the Parti Warisan Sabah-led state government was valid.

“We come under protest without prejudice. We will issue a statement tomorrow,” he said.

Until the issue of Sabah’s two chief ministers is resolved by the courts, Jeffrey said all representatives from Umno and Gabungan Bersatu had agreed to make him the opposition leader.

Meanwhile, Karanaan assemblyman Masidi Manjun said it was only out of respect for the speaker’s office that all the assemblymen had presented themselves at the assembly today.

“The issue of whether the first swearing-in was valid or not does not arise because we are here on the wishes of the speaker,” he said.

Klias assemblyman Isnin Aliasnih meanwhile joked that it was a new record in Sabah that the assemblymen had been sworn in twice in less than a month.

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said on June 17 that the swearing-in of the opposition representatives on June 12 was invalid although it was done before Speaker Syed Abas Syed Ali.