Ex-Sabah CM claims confidence in state AGC low, calls for revamp

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee (pic) is calling for a revamp of the Sabah Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) due to its handling of the Sabah 40% special grant appeal case, among other issues.

He claimed that based on its recent actions, the state AGC does not inspire public confidence on how it will handle tough constitutional cases.

He said in the 40% special grant case, state-appointed lawyer Tengku Datuk Fuad Ahmad filed a surprise intervention in the Federal Attorney General's appeal against the High Court decision to grant Sabah Law Society (SLS) leave to challenge provisions of the 40% Special Interim Grant.

The Court was supposed to deliver its verdict on the leave application on May 16, but following Tengku Fuad's intervention, it had to reserve its judgement until May 24.

He said that the explanation given by State AG Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof was unclear.

ALSO READ: Sabah’s 40% revenue rights: State maintains stand on legal and constitutional obligations

Nor Asiah, in a statement on Sunday (May 19), said that the state AGC had been actively participating in all matters (relating to the 40% net revenue) together with the Sabah Ministry of Finance and the Federal government.

She also said that the state AGC would take necessary measures to correct any misguided statements that deviate from Sabah's clear and formal position on the matter.

"So why was no one from the Sabah AGC present when Tengku Fuad made the intervention application on behalf of the state?" Yong questioned.

Apart from this, Yong said Sabah is also facing three other constitutional issues (Sulu claim, Territorial Sea Act 2012 and federal Madani Village Development Committee issue), but said he was unsure if the state AGC would be able to handle them well.

ALSO READ: 40% revenue rights: Warisan tells Sabah govt to clarify if it authorised counsel to act on its behalf

"Hence, the state AGC needs to be revamped," he said.

During Tengku Fuad closing arguments In the Court of Appeal case on Thursday on the leave granted to SLS, the lawyer had described the constitutional rights as an "aspiration."

Top Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) leaders then met Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, who subsequently reassured the public that there was no let-down by the state on state rights.

Both government and Opposition leaders continue to mount pressure on the GRS state government to act against those seen failing to defend state rights.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Datuk Chin Su Phin, on the other hand, said as the top legal advisor to the Sabah government, Nor Asiah must and should take charge of such important matters.

He said she should not have left it to an appointed legal counsel who may not have been properly instructed on the official stand and position of the state government.

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