DUN Speaker files appeal against High Court decision on Pujut seat

KUCHING: State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, through lawyer Shankar Ram, filed an appeal yesterday against the High Court’s decision to reinstate Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut assemblyman.

When contacted yesterday, Shankar said he and several other counsels filed the notice of appeal at the Court Registry at 3.30pm, adding he was instructed by his client (Asfia) to do so. Shankar also said he did not know if or when the other respondents will file their own appeals.

When contacted International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said he would be filing a notice of appeal soon adding that he would leave it the State Attorney General. The Second Minister of Finance is also Bawang Assan assemblyman and United People’s Party (UPP) president. Other interested parties who may be following suit are the DUN and the Election Commission (EC).

On June 17, High Court Judge Datuk Douglas Christo Primus Sikayun ruled in favour of Dr Ting, thus reinstating him as Pujut assemblyman.

In making his ruling, the judge said the DUN was not a competent forum to disqualify any of its members, and that only the Election court could decide on the membership status of any assemblyman as provided for under Article 118 of the Federal Constitution.

Douglas also found that Asfia had failed to apply the rule of natural justice when dismissing Dr Ting during the May 12 DUN sitting, apart from failing to provide him ample time to prepare his defence before a motion to disqualify him was tabled.

The High Court also said that Asfia had failed to take into account the interest of the 8,899 voters who woted for Dr Ting during the state election last year.

Wong had tabled the ministerial motion to disqualify Dr Ting for allegedly acquiring Australian citizenship in 2010. The EC previously announced a by-election for Pujut on July 4, but cancelled it following the court’s decision last Friday (June 17).

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