KUCHING: A Gabungan Parti Sarawak leader has raised questions about Dr Ting Tiong Choon’s citizenship after a Federal Court ruled in favour of the State Legislative Assembly’s (DUN) move to disqualify him as a member due to his past dual citizenship.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu supreme council member Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that it is a ‘no-no’ for a Malaysian to hold citizenship of another country as this would involve the citizen’s loyalty to the King and the nation.
“It was made known that he was also holding citizenship of another country before he contested at the (last state) election. What happened to Dr Ting was that he applied for Australian citizenship and he got it.
“I found that from a legal perspective, when you apply for Australian citizenship, strictly your Malaysian citizenship drops. Once it drops, that means you have to reapply back to be a Malaysian citizen.
“In my opinion, it is for the Malaysian government to look into this matter, whether to throw him out of this country as he (Dr Ting) is no longer a Malaysian – or to charge him for having dual citizenship,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Abdul Karim, who is the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, pointed out that Dr Ting, as a professional, should have known that his Malaysian citizenship would automatically be dropped when he applied for the Australian citizenship.
He also said that when a candidate in an election submits his nomination papers, the candidate has to sign a statutory declaration to declare that he is a Malaysian citizen and that he had never committed any crime.
“I leave it to federal prosecutors whether to charge him or not (over the statutory declaration),” said Abdul Karim.
Dr Ting, who is the Democratic Action Party (DAP) Miri chairman, had lost his seat in DUN as the Pujut assemblyman following the Federal Court’s majority decision yesterday
The Federal Court found that the DUN has the power to disqualify Ting for having dual citizenship despite him renouncing it before contesting in the state election in 2016.
Dr Ting, who had acquired Australian citizenship in 2010, was disqualified as an elected representative on May 12, 2017, following a motion tabled by Dato Seri Wong Soon Koh.
He then filed an Originating Summons in the Kuching High Court on June 7 that same year to challenge the decision by the DUN to disqualify him.
The High Court subsequently ruled against the DUN’s decision to disqualify Dr Ting as Pujut assemblyman.
In July last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal filed by DUN, Asfia and Wong, ruling that the DUN had exceeded its power when it disqualified Dr Ting on the basis of his dual citizenship.