Sept 7 hearing for review on Sabah governor’s right to dissolve assembly

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Sept 7 to hear an appeal by 33 Sabah assemblymen against Governor Juhar Mahiruddin’s consent to dissolve the state assembly.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Yaacob Md Sam also fixed Sept 7 to hear the stay of a proclamation by Juhar to hold the state elections, which were gazetted on July 30.

Others on the bench were P Ravinthran and Ahmad Nasfy Yassin.

Lawyer Tengku Fuad Ahmad represented the 33 appellants while Sabah Attorney-General Brenndon Keith Soh appeared for the governor, caretaker chief minister Shafie Apdal and the state government.

Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan and S Narkunavathy represented the Election Commission.

Soh brought to the attention of the bench that the appeal to stay the proclamation would be academic if the leave for judicial review was dismissed.

The dissolution paved the way for a snap election in the state, with Sept 26 set for polling day and nomination day on Sept 12.

Last week, judicial commissioner Leonard David Shim struck out the assemblymen’s leave application for judicial review on grounds that the governor’s actions were not justiciable in a court of law.

In his one-hour ruling, Shim said the court found that Shafie had acted within his constitutional right in asking Juhar to dissolve the state legislative assembly.

He also said Juhar had acted within the ambit of his power in dissolving the assembly.

Adding that the dissolution and proclamation were not amenable to judicial review, he said the leave application was refused.

Tengku Fuad however said the court found that the applicants had the legal standing to bring the matter to court, and that the judge appeared to have found that Shafie had lost the majority.