Tuesday, July 14

Dr Ting’s citizenship would not be revoked under PH govt’s watch, insists Chong


Chong Chieng Jen – File photo

MIRI: Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen dismissed the possibility of former Dr Ting Tiong Choon being deprived of his citizenship under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government’s watch.

He said that no government under the UN (United Nations) treaty would render a person ‘stateless’, as it was against basic human rights.

“Supporters and those concerned about Dr Ting can rest assured that that is not going to happen. Barisan Nasional (BN) did not do that, what more the PH government which does respects human rights. Even the BN government did not revoke his citizenship when this issue blew up, knowing that he had surrendered his Australian citizenship,” Chong said.

Chong pointed out that Dr Ting acquired Australian citizenship after staying many years in Sarawak but had surrendered it and maintained Malaysian citizenship prior to the last state election.

He also noted that there was no automatic revocation of citizenship under the Malaysian Constitution as alluded to by some senior lawyers on Dr Ting’s status following the court’s decision in favour of State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker and the state government to affirm the DUN’s action to disqualify him as Pujut assemblyman.

Dr Ting had surrendered his Australian citizenship to contest, and subsequently won, the Pujut seat in the 2016 state elections but as he was disqualified as an elected representative on May 12, 2017, following a motion tabled by the then Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

On Feb 11, the Federal Court affirmed the decision made by the DUN following a successful appeal by DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Awang Asfia Mohamad Nassar.

Article 24(1) of the Federal Constitution allow the Federal Government to deprive a Malaysian of citizenship but this is not automatic foreign citizenship as the order has to be made, however this only happen after an inquiry is conducted according to the procedure set out in Article 27 of the Federal Constitution, and the persons would found to be stripped of citizenship.

Meanwhile, DUN deputy speaker Dato Gerawat Gala on Thursday conceded that it would be up to the Federal Government to set up an inquiry under Article 27 of the Constitution to decide whether to revoke Dr Ting’s Malaysian citizenship on the ground that he has acquired Australian citizenship.

A senior Kuching-based lawyer, who declined to be named, has pointed out that it is a misconception and wrong statement of the law to assume automatic revocation of citizenship of Dr Ting, saying it would also be it would be unjust for the Malaysian government to make him a stateless person.

The lawyer also does not believe that any committee of enquiry would deprive Dr Ting of his citizenship under the circumstances.