Ex-Sabah CM, 3 others seek court order to bar Sabah assembly dissolution

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee and three others are seeking a court order to bar the Sabah chief minister from advising the head of state to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.

Yong, a former chief minister, is seeking the declaration pending the outcome of an appeal in the Court of Appeal against a High Court’s decision on April 23 this year.

On that day, High Court judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli dismissed a bid by Yong and six individuals for a court order to compel the prime minister to table the Election Commission’s report on 13 new Sabah State Assembly seats in Parliament.

Azhahari, in dismissing the petition, held that they had no locus standi to do so and that the issue was academic as Parliament had been dissolved on April 7, paving the way for the 14th general election.

The judge, however, agreed with the group’s contention that the prime minister had no discretion in not tabling the EC report on the 13 additional seats as it was mandatory under Section 9 of the 13th Schedule of the Constitution.

The issue arose after the Sabah assembly passed amendments to the Sabah Constitution to increase the number of State Legislative Assembly seats from 60 to 73.

However, because the EC report on the electoral boundary delineation for Sabah was not tabled in Parliament by the prime minister, the number of state assembly seats remained at 60 during the polls.

In their originating summons filed at the High Court on Tuesday, Yong and Datu Shuaib Datu Mutalib who are voters in the state seat of Likas and the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat, as well as Edward Dagul (Kawang state seat, Papar parliamentary seat) and Japril Suhaimin (Kundasang, Ranau) stated that the “continued absence of the EC report being tabled in Parliament was a remaining unfulfilled procedure in the delineation of the constituencies in Sabah”.

“This is an assault and a violation of the Sabah Constitution,” they argued in their originating summons filed by counsel Yong Yit Jee.

Yong and the three others said the Sabah chief minister, the sole respondent in their originating summons, had the constitutional duty to preserve, protect and defend the Sabah Constitution.

They also said the chief minister should not request or advise the head of state to dissolve the state assembly pending the outcome of the appeal against the April 23 High Court ruling.

Yong said this needed to be stated now as they had heard rumours that current Chief Minister Shafie Apdal would likely dissolve the state assembly and call for fresh state elections before Nov 7.

Kuching-based High Court judge Yew Jen Kie had fixed Nov 7 to decide on former chief minister Musa Aman’s legal challenge against Shafie’s appointment as Sabah chief minister.