High Court to decide on Shafie’s bid to strike out suit on CM-ship

KOTA KINABALU: The High Court will decide on an application by Shafie Apdal to strike out a suit by Musa Aman, who claims to be the rightful Sabah chief minister.

High Court judge Yew Jen Kie set Sept 3 for the decision.

However, there was no application by Sabah governor Juhar Mahiruddin, who was named as the first defendant in Musa’s suit to strike out the challenge over Juhar’s move to appoint Shafie as chief minister, two days after Musa was sworn in on May 10.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Musa’s lawyer Tengku Fuad Ahmad said more time was needed to file an affidavit in reply to the submission by Shafie’s legal team.

“This is because my client is seeking treatment abroad,” he said, adding that the team needed more time for instructions.

“If the application is granted, we will continue to appeal.”

Shafie was represented by Douglas Lind while the Sabah governor was represented by Dayangku Fazidah Haton.

Musa was sworn in as Sabah chief minister on May 10 after commanding a simple majority in the 14th general election. Two days later, however, Shafie was sworn in as chief minister after some of the assemblymen under Musa switched sides.

Musa filed a writ of summons through Messrs FT Ahmad & Co against Juhar and Shafie on May 17.

It is learnt that Musa is seeking a declaration, among others, that he is and remains the lawful chief minister of Sabah, and that the “purported swearing-in” of Shafie as a second chief minister on May 12 by Juhar was unconstitutional.

The writ also seeks a declaration that any and all acts by Shafie in his capacity as purported chief minister are null, void and of no effect.

However, Musa dropped his lawsuit against Juhar and Shafie and instead filed an originating summons which allows the case to proceed without the parties having to be present in court on June 6.

Fuad had said with the originating summons, there would only be paperwork and submissions minus the requirement for a trial.

According to the Sabah state constitution, Musa, who was sworn in before Shafie, must resign as chief minister before he can be replaced in the post.

The constitution specifies that Juhar, as the head of state, does not have the power to remove Musa as the rightful chief minister.

Musa would have to be given a vote of no confidence in the state assembly, after which he will either dissolve the assembly or let the head of state appoint a new chief minister who commands the confidence of the majority of the elected assemblymen.