Sarawak Speaker: Decision to disqualify Pujut assemblyman legal


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Dr Ting Tiong Choon

KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly’s decision to disqualify former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon is within the purview and ambit of the Federal and State Constitution, said Sarawak Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar.

He said that the Federal Constitution read that the validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any state shall not be questioned in any court.

“The Legislative Assembly is the final arbiter in any questions arising as to whether a member of the Legislative Assembly has been disqualified for membership," said Mohd Asfia at a press conference on Tuesday.

He added that the decision to disqualify Dr Ting is in line with the judgment in the 1979 case of Lim Cho Hock vs Speaker of Perak.

“The matters were for the Legislative Assembly to decide and within its exclusive jurisdiction and not for the courts to determine,” said Mohd Asfia.

He added that under Article 17(1)(g) of the State Constitution, a person is disqualified from being elected if that person has voluntarily acquired citizenship, exercised rights of citizenship or has made a declaration of allegiance to any country outside the Federation.

He said that Dr Ting has voluntarily acquired Australian citizenship and exercised his rights by registering as a voter in Australia.

"By renouncing his Australian citizenship, the assemblyman does not reacquire Malaysian citizenship. The renunciation must be made in the Federation of Malaysia," he pointed out.

The state assembly had voted 70-10 in favour of a motion by International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh to remove Dr Ting over allegations that he held Australian citizenship.

Sarawak DAP is planning to challenge Dr Ting’s disqualification in court.
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