Warisan to appeal court’s decision on defector

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan will appeal against a High Court decision to strike out the party’s legal bid to force a vacancy for the Sebatik state seat following its incumbent Hassan Gani Amir’s defection from the party.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said he had directed Warisan’s lawyers to study Thursday’s High Court decision before taking steps to appeal the decision.

“Yes, we are appealing,” he said yesterday.

Warisan secretary-general Datuk Loretto Padua said he would be briefing the party’s supreme council on the decision of the Kota Kinabalu High Court.

On Thursday, High Court judge Justice Wong Siong Tung in striking out the Warisan suit against Hassan, ruled that an elected representative should be able to act on his own independent judgment and should not be legally constrained by the party or the electorate.

He said the combination of undated signed resignation letters and pledge of loyalty to Warisan prior to the 2020 state election equalled an unlawful scheme.

“Any causes of action based on such an arrangement to deprive such freedom cannot be sustained in law.

“The appropriate penalty of the elected member of legislature for broken political promises is for voters or electors to consider voting differently at the next opportunity,” he said in his judgment.

Warisan had filed a suit for a breach of contract in its bid to declare the Sebatik seat vacant as Hassan had won on a Warisan ticket in the Sept 26, 2020 snap state election.

Hassan defected to the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah state government on Feb 25, 2021.

Warisan sought to enforce an alleged “Pledge of Loyalty” and “pre-signed undated letter of resignation”, both of which were allegedly undertaken and signed by Hassan.

According to Warisan’s suit, Hassan was under special obligation or equitable duty to vacate his seat in the event that he broke the alleged “Pledge of Loyalty”.

Hassan was the first Warisan assemblymen to defect and was followed by five others in the last two years. Warisan won 23 of the 73 state seats in the polls.

Hassan’s case is seen as the party’s first test case as it intends to initiate action against other defectors who had allegedly signed similar undated letters of resignation prior to the election in the event they defected.

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