KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee was briefly refused entry into the High Court here as he turned up to attend a court case on the constitutional position of Sabah’s 13 new state seats.
He was stopped by court security for about half an hour before being allowed in at 9.55am.
It is understood that the court official eventually allowed Yong and about 40 leaders and supporters of Gabungan Sabah to enter after they gave an assurance that they would be orderly.
Yong, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, is among the seven people from Gabungan, an opposition coalition, that filed a suit on April 2 to compel the Prime Minister to table the new seats in Parliament.
In court, judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli fixed April 23 to decide on whether the Prime Minister should table the Election Commission’s report on the new seats in Parliament.
During the case submissions, Senior Federal Counsel Andi Razalijaya A. Dadi, representing the Attorney-General’s Chambers, argued against the case, saying that the matter was academic as the Parliament was already dissolved and that the plaintiff had no legal standing.
He also argued that the EC was not the proper party to the matter and that the mandamus order to compel the Prime Minister to table the new seats in Parliament was misconceived at law.
In the summons, the Prime Minister and the EC were named as defendants.
Gabungan was represented by lawyers Yong Yit Jee, Benazir Japirul Bandaran and Ken Yong.
Yong’s lawyers cited the Federal Constitution, saying the Prime Minister had no discretion to withhold the tabling of the EC report in Parliament. They also argued that the case was not academic, saying that despite the dissolution of Parliament, the three Federal Government branches – executive, legislature and judiciary – exist in perpetuity.
“Our case is about the Prime Minister’s constitutional duty to table the EC report in Parliament at the first available opportunity.
“Although Parliament has been dissolved, there will be a Prime Minister later and we want the EC report on Sabah to be tabled at the next available Parliament meeting,” Yong told reporters yesterday.
Other plaintiffs in the originating summons are SAPP vice-president Datuk Shuaib Mutalib, Gabungan Sabah secretary Edward Dagul, SAPP EC matters committee chairman Japiril Suhaimin, Parti Solidariti Tanah Air (STAR) deputy president Edward Linggu, Parti Harapan Rakyat youth chief Jovilis Majami, and Parti Perpaduan Sabah executive secretary Anesthicia Usun.
Gabungan is a four-party coalition that includes SAPP led by Yong, Sabah STAR led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah led by Datuk Lajim Ukin, and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah led by Mohd Arshad Abdul Maulap.