Dr Ting filing suit to challenge disqualification as Pujut assemblyman today

Dr Ting’s legal team of (from left) Michael Kong, Alan Ling, Wong King Wei and Chong Siew Chiang doing final preparations to file an Originating Summons in the Kuching High Court today.

KUCHING: Former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon will be filing an Originating Summons in the Kuching High Court today (June 7) to challenge the State Legislative Assembly’s (DUN) decision to disqualify him as a member of the august House on May 12.

State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said although Dr Ting’s legal team was still in discussion on who will be the respondents to the suit, they were contemplating to name the Election Commission (EC) as a party to the suit.

“We are contemplating putting the EC as a party to Dr Ting’s suit against the State (Legislative) Assembly, so as to bind them so that they will not have the excuse that they do not know about this court action and proceed with the (by-) election,” Chong told reporters in a press conference here yesterday.

Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said although Dr Ting’s legal team will be applying for the case to be heard urgently, the respondents will still be given time to file their defence and affidavit in reply.

Dr Ting was stripped of his membership after 70 state Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers supported the motion tabled by International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, while 10 from the opposition rejected it.

In his motion, Wong, who is Bawang Assan assemblyman, claimed that Dr Ting had breached Article 17(1)(g) of the State Constitution when he acquired Australian citizenship, exercised his right to register as an Australian voter, and pledged allegiance to a country outside the Federation of Malaysia.

Following Dr Ting’s disqualification as Pujut assemblyman, the EC fixed a by-election for the state constituency with the polling date on July 4 while nomination will be on June 20.

Chong, who is a practising lawyer, explained that Dr Ting’s legal team is not applying for any injunction to stop the by-election as there is an established ruling by all the courts in Malaysia and English Common Law that no injunction is to be issued against the government.

Despite the ruling, he said once the Originating Summons is filed, any reasonable government agency will not be holding a by-election in Pujut before the case is determined.

“Because when you have the by-election, not only will you affect the decision of the court, you will also frustrate the whole court’s action. You will render the whole court action academic.

“So we expect some decency and respect for the court process by the EC once the matter has been filed in the court, and we are giving them ample time, more than 10 days, to decide. After they file the summons at the Kuching High Court, we will serve a copy to the EC and we’ll see what the EC will do.”

In pointing out that since Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak has always used the sub judice principle to stop opposition lawmakers from discussing certain issues in the DUN, Chong said they are now throwing the ball back to BN Sarawak’s court as to whether they will continue to carry on with the by-election in Pujut which will be sub judice.

EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah had on May 19 said EC would abide by any decision of the court following the move by DAP to challenge the disqualification of Dr Ting.

“We are just carrying out our duty. If the court says (Dr Ting) can retain the seat, we will let him do so,” Mohd Hashim told a press conference after announcing the nomination and polling dates for Pujut by-election.

 

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