Federal Court allows appeal over decision declaring DAP rep's disqualification as unlawful


KUCHING: The Federal Court has granted leave to the Sarawak Speaker, state legislative assembly and Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh to appeal against the decision that the state legislature's disqualification of DAP's Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon was unlawful.

A three-man bench led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah unanimously decided in favour of the applicants on Thursday (July 25) as the matter involved a constitutional issue of public importance.

The other judges were Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Nallini Pathmanathan.

Welcoming the decision, Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said the three applicants would consolidate their appeals and wait for a date to be fixed for the hearing to proceed.

He said this was set to be a landmark case on the constitutional questions of whether the state assembly had the jurisdiction to determine if an assemblyman was qualified to be elected, whether such jurisdiction was subject to judicial interference and whether the state assembly exceeded its jurisdiction by disqualifying Ting two years ago.

"The Federal Court has never given any ruling on this. This has to be addressed.

"Must the decisions of the Speaker in all the sittings be subject to judicial interference? How can you function?

"This is why it is of paramount public importance that the Federal Court resolves this once and for all," Asfia told a press conference on Thursday.

On May 12, 2017, Wong had moved a motion in the state assembly to disqualify Ting over allegations that he held Australian citizenship.

Ting filed a suit on June 7, 2017 challenging his disqualification.

In its decision on June 17, the High Court here declared that the state legislature's move to disqualify Ting was unlawful as it had acted outside its constitutional limits. It also ordered Ting to be reinstated as Pujut assemblyman.

On July 13 last year, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision in a majority ruling and dismissed the appeals by Asfia, Wong, who is Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president, and the state assembly.


   

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