KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here heard that former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and 32 assemblymen requested for time to reply on issue of their standing or constitutional entitlements in commencing a leave for judicial review to question whether the Head of State had correctly exercised his power in dissolving the 15th Sabah Legislative Assembly on July 30.
Counsel Chung Jiun Dau, who was appointed to assist State Attorney General Brenndon Keith Soh as putative respondent, raised this issue which claimed to be not related to justiciability point during clarification before Judicial Commissioner Leonard David Shim yesterday.
Counsel Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, who represented the applicants, strongly objected to the submission on legal standing of his clients in this leave and requested to give their written submission on the said issue.
Chung had highlighted this point claiming that this issue related to the interpretation of relevant Articles in Sabah.
He among others submitted previous decided case as an analogy to support his point of “standing of the applicants” which explained the contention on an allegation that Musa was entitled to be appointed as Chief Minister and other applicants to be part of the governing block.
“Eligibility of appointment gives you an entitlement?” Chung questioned.
However, Tengku Fuad said that the court’s direction was to argue on the sole justiciability point and contended that why now Chung raised about locus standi.
“Locus standi is another realm of objection, my lord had specifically directed on justiciability,” explained Fuad, who repeatedly stood up to object the point raised by Chung.
Chung then argued by claiming that the applicants were claiming entitlements which they even stated in their written submission.
Tengku Fuad replied that if Chung was looking at the entitlements, claims, remedies and reliefs, that the stated matters had to be addressed.
“This is hearing of justiciability and my learned friend ignoring the direction,” Tengku Fuad insisted.
The court had on August 7 fixed yesterday for clarification or ruling, however after more than four hours of clarification sessions, the court had granted time for the applicants to file their written submission on locus standi by Wednesday and fixed August 21 for ruling on the leave application.
On August 4, Musa and the other assemblymen aligned with him had filed their ex-parte application naming the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Shafie, the Election Commission and the State Government as their first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.
In the notice of application, apart from Musa, the assemblymen involved are Datuk Bolkiah Ismail, Julita Mojungki Ismail, Datuk Lasiah Baranting @ Anita, Datuk Haji Musbah Haji Jamli, Datuk Japlin Akim @ Abd Hamid, Datuk Jahid @ Noordin Jahim, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor, Datuk Joniston Lumai @ Bangkuai, Kenny Chua Teck Ho, Datuk Gulamhaidar @ Yusof Khan Bahadar, Datuk Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif, Datuk Isnin Haji Aliasnih @ Liasnih, Datuk Limus Jury, Matbali Musah, Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Masidi Manjun, Datuk Abidin Madingkir, Datuk Dr Gapari Katingan @ Geoffrey Kitingan, Robert Tawik @ Nordin, Jamawi Jaafar, Datuk Ellron Angin, Bobbey Ahfang Suan, Datuk James Ratib, Abdul Rahman Kongkawang, Datuk Masiung Banah, Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman, Datuk Osman Jamal, Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan, Datuk Hamisa Samat, Datuk Abd Muis Haji Picho, Jaffari Waliam and Loh Ee Eng.
All of them also sought a declaration that:
1) Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s (caretaker Chief Minister) position as Chief Minister was vacated pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Sabah Constitution following his written request dated July 29 to the Head of State for the dissolution of the said State Legislative Assembly purportedly pursuant to Article 10(1)(2)(b) (as incorrectly cited by Shafie) of the same;
2) that Mohd Shafie’s position as Chief Minister was deemed to have been vacated pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Sabah Constitution as soon as the Head of State was given notice that Shafie had lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the said State Legislative Assembly which occurred on July 29;
3) the vacation of Mohd Shafie’s position as Chief Minister, the Head of State was under a duty to exercise his discretion as to whether to withhold consent to the request for dissolution or appoint a member of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Sabah Constitution who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of a majority of the members of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly;
4) that the Head of State allegedly breached his constitutional duty by allegedly failing to exercise his discretion, as provided under Article 10(2) of the Sabah Constitution, to consider whether to appoint a member of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Sabah Constitution who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of a majority of the members of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly;
5) that the proclamation allegedly by the Head of State dated July 30 for the dissolution of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly purportedly under Article 21(2) of the Sabah Constitution (“the Proclamation”) and the purported dissolution of the said Sabah State Legislative Assembly was ultra vires the Sabah Constitution and void ab initio.
Apart from that, the applicants also sought orders of Certiorari namely quashing Mohd Shafie’s written request to the Head of State on July 29 with immediate effect; quashing the said proclamation with immediate effect, quashing the Sabah State Government Gazette dated July 30 and costs.
Apart from Tengku Fuad, counsel S. Vanugopal, Wilsong Chang Khai Sim and Mohd Syazwan Shah Mohd Ali also represented the applicants while Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and Narkunavathy acted for Federal Attorney-General and Dygku Fazidah Hatun Pg Bagul also acted for State Attorney-General.
Only three applicants were seen inside the courtroom while others waited outside the courtroom and it was learned eight of the applicants including Musa were not present in court.