KOTA KINABALU: A bid by 33 assemblymen to challenge the decision of the head of state to dissolve the Sabah assembly began at the High Court here on Friday (Aug 7), with the court wanting further arguments on whether it has judicial authority to preside over the case.
Sarawak-based High Court judge Leonard Chin asked for more written submissions from lawyers on both sides on whether it had justiciability look into the powers of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri to dissolve the state assembly.
The 33 assemblymen led by Tan Sri Musa Aman are pursuing a legal challenge on the decision of Tun Juhar Mahairuddin to dissolve the Sabah assembly under Article 21 of the state Constitution, without considering Musa who could have been sworn in as Chief Minister as he had sufficient numbers in the 60-member house.
Justice Chin set Aug 17 to hear the submissions from lawyers representing the assemblymen, Tengku Fuad Ahmad, and the state Attorney General Brenndon Keith Soh, who represents the state government.
Musa and the assemblymen named Yang di-Pertua Negeri, caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Election Commision and the state government as respondents in the application for leave for judicial review.
Fuad told reporters outside the courtroom that the crux of their argument was that the TYT was improperly advised to dissolve the legislature under Article 7(1) of the constitution, and they were challenging the proclamation for election.
Both Soh and senior federal counsel Suzana Atan and Narkunavathy Sundareson had earlier told the court that it was the prerogative of the TYT to dissolve the assembly and it could not be challenged.
The court maintained strict social distancing rules under Covid-19 precautionary measures and only allowed three-members of the media into the courtroom.
None of the 33 assemblymen or the respondents turned up at the court.
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