Sabah withdraws objection and counsel


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah went into damage control mode as it pulled back on its objections to Sabah Law Society’s (SLS) leave for a judicial review on the state’s revenue rights.

The state government, represented by state Attorney General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof and Chief Minister’s Department legal adviser Datuk Brenndon Keith Soh, also replaced its appointed counsel Tengku Datuk Fuad Ahmad during yesterday’s case management at the Court of Appeal.

This means that Tengku Fuad, who had drawn controversy over his argument that Sabah’s 40% revenue rights were merely an “aspiration,” would no longer be acting for the state in this case.

The Sabah government also withdrew Tengku Fuad’s submissions during the May 16 appeal hearing here.

The latest move by the state government came after a political and public outcry over Tengku Fuad’s perceived blunder during the May 16 hearing at the Court of Appeal where he submitted that the state revenue rights under the Constitution’s Articles 112C and 112D were “aspirational” and not a “mandatory and absolute right.”

He had made the submission while applying for the state to be an intervener and co-appellant in the Federal Government’s appeal against the Kota Kinabalu’s High Court’s decision on Nov 11, 2022, to grant leave to SLS for its judicial review application on the 40% Special Grant Entitlement for Sabah under the Constitution.

In a statement released by the state Attorney General’s office after yesterday’s case management, Nor Asiah said Tengku Fuad’s legal firm had ceased to act for the Sabah government.

Instead, she said the state Attorney General’s Chambers had taken over the full conduct of the case.

She said they have scrutinised and reviewed the previous submissions and have since informed the court of Sabah’s latest position:

> Since the state government did not appeal against the decision of the High Court dated Nov 11, 2022, it accepts the outcome as granted, namely, that leave be granted for the matter to be heard based on its merit during the judicial review application;

> In addition, the state government would retract all submissions made in the Court of Appeal on the issue of locus standi of the SLS as this was not advanced nor submitted in the High Court by the state.

> The state government retracts the submission made in the Court of Appeal in reference to Articles 112C and 112D of the Federal Constitution as being “an aspiration” and not a mandatory nor absolute right of Sabah.

Nor Asiah said the Court of Appeal has now fixed June 18 on the ruling.

“I assure the public that the state Attorney General’s Chambers is fully committed and will continue to remain steadfast for the people of Sabah to uphold Sabah’s constitutional rights as outlined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution,” she added.

Tengku Fuad’s last-minute application to intervene on behalf of the state on May 16 had led to much unhappiness among political parties from both the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah and state Opposition as well as non-governmental organisations.

They had objected to the state government’s move to go against SLS’ legal efforts to seek a judicial review on revenue rights.

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revenue , rights , Sabah , court

   

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