PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court will hear tomorrow an application to stay the Sabah governor’s decision to dissolve the state assembly pending the disposal of the “two chief ministers” dispute between Musa Aman and Shafie Apdal.
Former Tamparuli assemblyman Jahid @ Noordin Jahim filed the application on Tuesday with a certificate of urgency.
His lawyer, Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, said the apex court informed them of the hearing date last evening.
“It will be at 9am. We have served the legal papers to the parties concerned,” he told FMT.
Jahid has named Shafie, Speaker Syed Abas Syed Ali and state assembly secretary Bernard J Dalinting as defendants.
In an immediate response, Sabah Attorney-General Brenndon Keith Soh said they would oppose the application.
“We believe that we have good grounds to stop the stay,” he said.
Jahid, in his application, says governor Juhar Mahiruddin’s decision to dissolve the 15th state assembly on July 30 should be stayed until the disposal of the suit.
He says the election writ or notices issued by the Election Commission for the 73 state constituencies in the state should be suspended.
The EC fixed nomination for Saturday and election on Sept 26.
Jahid also says in his affidavit that Musa’s appeal before the Federal Court will be academic if the election is held.
On Aug 26, the Federal Court, in a majority 2-1 ruling, allowed Musa’s leave application seeking a declaration that he was the rightful Sabah chief minister after the conclusion of the 15th state election in 2018.
Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli had said the merit of the appeal by Musa and Jahid must be heard as the questions of law posed were of grave importance.
“This ought to be solved by the apex court and cannot be left hanging,” he said.
Rahman said the people of Sabah had the right to know whether Musa’s removal was done in accordance with the Sabah constitution. Judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof concurred with Rahman.
Bench chairman Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who was in the minority, said the applicants had failed to cross the threshold under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act for the appeal to be heard.
On May 9, 2018, the Musa-led Barisan Nasional (BN) won 29 seats. The opposition coalition, consisting of Shafie’s Warisan, DAP and PKR, secured 29 seats while Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) won two seats.
BN and STAR, which together had 31 seats in the 60-member assembly, entered into a coalition government, leading Musa to be sworn in as chief minister on May 10.
However, two days later, five assemblymen from Upko shifted their allegiance to Shafie’s camp.
Shafie was then sworn in as chief minister, which led Musa to seek a declaration from the court that he was still the rightful head of government because no vote of confidence had been taken against him.
High Court judge Yew Jen Kie relied on the Perak case to hold that Juhar had the power to dismiss the chief minister.
On Nov 28, the Court of Appeal struck out Musa’s appeal against the High Court’s decision on grounds that Shafie now enjoyed majority support of the assemblymen.