Appeal rejected, Sabah polls to go on

KOTA KINABALU: Both sides of the political divide welcome the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appeal brought by 33 assemblymen against a High Court ruling over the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri’s decision to dissolve the state legislative assembly on July 30.

Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin described the latest court verdict as the best option for Sabah because he said it would allow voters to choose the government they trusted.

He also gave an assurance that Barisan would field candidates with integrity and loyalty in the upcoming state election.

He added that regardless of who won the Sept 26 polls, both sides of the political divide should not “jump ship” as he referenced the crossovers after the 14th General Election that led to the formation of the Warisan Plus state government.

“Whoever the candidate, no more ‘jumping ship’ like the last time. This election, we have to respect whoever wins, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Warisan permanent chairman Datuk Liew Vui Keong, in welcoming the court’s decision, said the governor’s decision should not be challenged in any court.

“Musa, nevertheless, continued to challenge this power of our governor in fear of facing Sabahans in the polls later this month. But justice has prevailed, ” he said.

He was referring to former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who led the group of assemblymen in appealing against the Kota Kinabalu High Court’s Aug 21 dismissal of their application for leave for a judicial review to challenge the decision of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

Liew also urged Musa to respect the judiciary’s decision and move on by preparing for the upcoming state election.

“Let us allow Sabahans themselves to freely and democratically elect a state government of their choice, to exercise their consent to be governed, ” he added.

Bernama reported earlier that at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya yesterday, Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who led a three-member bench that included Justices Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Supang Lian, also rejected the assemblymen’s bid for a stay of ruling pending an appeal to the Federal Court.

With this ruling, the state election will proceed as scheduled.

The Election Commission (EC) has set Sept 12 for nomination and Sept 26 for polling.

Justice Abdul Karim ruled that Juhar had correctly exercised his discretion according to the Sabah constitution in dissolving the state legislative assembly.

The court made the ruling after hearing submissions for two days beginning Monday by counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who represented the assemblymen; Sabah Attorney General Brenndon Keith Soh, who acted for Juhar; counsel Datuk Cyrus Das, who appeared for caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and the state government; and Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan, who acted for the EC.

Musa and several of the other assemblymen were present in court.

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