Sabah Law Society wants definitive guide for Governor to appoint CM

Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin.

KOTA KINABALU: More definitive guidelines for the Governor to appoint a Chief Minister need to be incorporated into the state Constitution, says the Sabah Law Society (SLS).

SLS said the deletion of Article 6(7) of the state Constitution by the Sabah Assembly last month effectively left a vacuum for guiding the Yang di-Pertua Negeri to appoint a Chief Minister who will command the majority in the Assembly.

SLS president Roger Chin said there is a need for a more definitive article in the constitution for the Governor to determine whether a member commands a majority in the Assembly to ensure "certainty and transparency" in the appointment of the chief minister.

The state government, under Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, moved to delete Article 6(7) of the state Constitution that guided the Governor to pick the leader of the majority party as chief minister.

The Article was put in place in the Sabah Constitution in 1990 to stop power grabs by parties that did not win a majority in an election.

The deletion of the Article has raised concerns as the last two state elections in 2018 and 2020 did not see any single party emerging as a clear winner.

During the May 25 Sabah assembly sitting, 61 of the 75 assemblymen present voted in favour of the deletion of the Article while 14 Opposition Parti Warisan assemblymen voted against it.

When assuaging concerns raised during debates over the deletion of Article 6 (7), Hajiji said that a select committee would be set up to replace it with a more definitive guide.

Chin said the method of using statutory declarations (SD) by politicians was unreliable.

"A definitive criteria on how the Governor determines whether a member does indeed command a majority should be in place," he said.

The scrapping of Article 6(7) was tabled together with Sabah's anti-party hopping law. All 75 of the 79 assemblymen present voted in favour of the anti-party hopping law that was overshadowed by the deletion of Article 6(7).

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