There will be no Pujut by-election, says Sarawak Speaker

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020

KUCHING: There will be no by-election in Pujut following the disqualification of its assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon as it occurred less than two years before the Sarawak Legislative Assembly's end of term, says Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar.

The Sarawak Speaker said Article 21(5) of the state constitution provided that a by-election need not be called if a vacancy arose in the state legislature within two years of its expiry, unless such a vacancy affected the majority of the ruling party.

He said any notification of the vacancy from today's date (Feb 11) is within two years of the dissolution of the state assembly in June 2021.

"Furthermore, the vacancy does not affect the numerical strength of the party that constitutes a majority of the members of the state assembly, where Gabungan Parti Sarawak has a two-thirds majority," Asfia told reporters here Tuesday (Feb 11).

As such, he said there was no need for him to notify the Election Commission of the vacant seat.

In a majority decision, the Federal Court earlier Tuesday disqualified DAP's Ting as Pujut assemblyman.

It overturned a Court of Appeal ruling that the Sarawak Legislative Assembly's move to disqualify him for previously acquiring Australian citizenship was unlawful.

Asfia welcomed the Federal Court's decision, calling it a "magnificent victory" for the Sarawak state assembly because the nation's highest court had upheld the doctrine of separation of powers.

He said the case was not a question of politics but of patriotism, adding that a person who had taken up foreign citizenship should not be allowed to represent the electorate in Sarawak or sit in its legislature.

Asfia also said Ting would have to reimburse the salary and allowances he received as an assemblyman following his disqualification.

"Once we have a copy of the ruling, the state assembly secretary will write to him asking for the reimbursement," he said.

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