Sabah chief minister’s post: Back to the court for a decision

KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu High Court today struck out Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal’s application to cancel the originating summons filed by former chief minister Musa Aman challenging the validity of Shafie’s appointment.

Speaking to the media, Shafie’s lead counsel Douglas Lind said judge Yew Jen Kie decided that the originating summons merited full consideration.

Lind said the judge has given Musa until Sept 14 to file his submission while Shafie will have to respond on Sept 28, to be followed by a reply by Musa on Oct 5.

The court will deliver its decision on Oct 26.

“So, you will know the outcome of the case on Oct 26,” he said.

Musa filed the originating summons through his legal counsel on June 5.

With the originating summons, the parties in the case do not need to appear in court.

It will be decided by paperwork and submissions of documents, such as affidavits, minus the requirement for a trial.

To recap, Musa was sworn in as Sabah chief minister on May 10, a day after the May 9 general election, which resulted in a hung state assembly.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) headed by Musa won 29 state seats out of the 60 contested, the same number as the coalition led by Shafie’s Parti Warisan and its partners, PKR and DAP.

Sabah STAR, which won the remaining two seats, emerged as the “kingmaker” in the formation of the new state government.

STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan threw his support behind Musa and enabled him to be sworn in as chief minister.

However, subsequent defections from BN assemblymen to the Warisan-led alliance gave Shafie the majority in the assembly, and he was sworn in on May 12, causing a constitutional issue.

Musa then filed a writ of summons on May 17 against state governor Juhar Mahiruddin and Shafie seeking to nullify the latter’s appointment as chief minister.

Musa sought a declaration, among others, that he remained 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.

However, Musa then left Sabah and later cancelled the writ of summons on June 6 in order to file the originating summons on the same day which allowed the case to proceed without the parties having to be present in court.