KUALA LUMPUR: Despite his corruption conviction, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor can still serve as Putrajaya MP while appealing the sentence, say lawyers.
Tengku Adnan was sentenced yesterday to 12 months’ jail and an RM2mil fine for personally receiving RM2mil from a property developer.
Article 48(4)(a) of the Federal Constitution stated that an MP will be disqualified from their seat within 14 days from the date he or she was sentenced to a fine exceeding RM2,000 or more than one years’ prison.
Supplementary section, Article 48(4)(b) gives leeway that should the MP appeal their sentence within 14 days, they would only be disqualified 14 days from when the court decides on the appeal.
Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet said these principles applied in Ku Nan’s case as his defence team was planning an appeal.
“If Tengku Adnan appeals, he will not lose his seat until all options of appeal are exhausted, ” he said.
As the trial began in High Court here, after being transferred from the Sessions Court where Ku Nan was initially charged, he could appeal to the Court of Appeal, and should his case not be overturned there, he could proceed to the Federal Court.
After proceedings yesterday, defence lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan told the media they would file the notice of appeal by today.
He had also asked for a stay of execution on both sentences and this was allowed by the court.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan
noted that even though the sentence was being appealed, Ku Nan might not be able to run in the next election.
He explained a different section of Article 48(5) prohibited
MPs from running if they had a pending sentence.
He added Ku Nan would also be disqualified if the court did not allow his appeal against conviction, or if it reduced the sentence but not to an amount below the disqualification threshold.
A previous High Court had in the case of then Batu MP Tian Chua ruled that a person will be disqualified from being a Member of either House of Parliament under Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution if the fine imposed on him by a court upon conviction for an offence is RM2,001 and above.
Tian Chua’s fine was reduced from RM3,000 to RM2,000 and he was not disqualified.
Syahredzan also believed the court was not swayed by Ku Nan’s mitigation that the current government, due to its slim majority in Parliament, would be affected if he was disqualified as an MP.
“From the reports, the judge himself did not think that it is relevant. So there is nothing to suggest that his decision factored that in.”
“I cannot fault the defence counsel for forwarding that issue.
“He is duty bound to make all potentially relevant circumstances known to the judge, ” he told The Star.