Local News

Sabah elections to proceed

malaysia news lab

KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here has thrown out a bid by 33 assemblymen led by former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman to quash the Yang di-Pertua Negeri’s decision to dissolve the state assembly.

The decision by Sarawak-based High Court Judge Judicial Commissioner Leonard David Shim effectively puts an end to any attempt to stop the 16th Sabah state election which will be held on Sept 26. The 33 assemblymen had named Sabah Governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin as the first respondent and caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, the Election Commission (EC) and the state government as the second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.

State Attorney General Brenndon Keith Soh, who represented the first, second and fourth respondents, told reporters outside the courtroom that the judge found that Juhar’s decision to dissolve the state assembly was not within the court’s power to interfere.

“The court has dismissed the case against the respondents, no leave granted. The court found that the decision of the governor was non-justiciable, ” he told reporters yesterday.

Soh said the court was careful in delivering its grounds that the first and second respondents had acted within their constitutional powers and limits.

“There was nothing to suggest there was a breach of the state constitution, and therefore the decision to grant a dissolution is not justiciable, ” he said.

He added that this was because on matters concerning high policy, discretion was given to the governor to decide whether or not to grant a dissolution of the state assembly.

“It was done properly in accordance with the law and the dissolution is therefore valid and constitutional. Now there should not be any uncertainty whether a state election should continue or not, ” Soh said, adding that the court decision should be respected by all.

Meanwhile, Tengku Fuad Ahmad, who represented the group of 33 assemblymen, said they would file an appeal to the Court of Appeals on grounds that Shim’s judgment had acknowledged that Shafie had lost the majority.

“The two things that came out of this are that the judge found the 33 assemblymen have locus standi to bring this to court and the court appeared to find that Shafie had lost the majority, ” he said.

“So, he had only two choices – which is to resign or dissolve the state assembly. Unfortunately, there are two words from the judge where we disagree which is the use of the words ‘advice’ and ‘request’.”

Tengku Fuad pointed out that Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia were different in the sense that the state did not have royalty and this was the role of the governor.

“We have not given up. We will fight on, ” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Marcel Jude together with businesswomen Margaret Binsing and Tessa Romana, who had earlier filed a judicial review to stop the Sabah state election in view of the current Covid-19 threat, have withdrawn their case against Juhar.

The trio made the move yesterday immediately after the High Court threw out the 33 assemblymen’s case.

The trio have now only a case against the EC where they are seeking an order to stop the EC chairman from conducting snap polls during the movement control order (MCO) period.

High Court judge Justice Ismail Brahim set Sept 14 for the hearing.

Earlier this month, the trio filed for a High Court order to quash Juhar’s decision to dissolve the state assembly on July 30.

They also sought an order to stop the EC chairman from conducting the Sabah state election unless the MCO was lifted or provisions were made under the MCO to hold the state election.

They sought a declaration that holding the Sabah state election during the recovery MCO was unlawful as well as null and void.–The Star

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