68 voted for DUN to appeal Pujut rep’s case, 7 voted against

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

KUCHING, July 18: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) was today given the approval to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss the disqualification of Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut assemblyman.

In a motion moved by Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (GPS-Asajaya), 68 lawmakers voted for it while seven voted against it.

The state attorney-general and its legal officers are now authorised to represent DUN in this appeal case.

On July 13, the Court of Appeal, in a majority decision, dismissed the appeal by DUN against the High Court’s decision to reinstate Dr Ting as one of its members.

Abdul Karim said the motion was not intended to be a personal vendetta against Dr Ting. It is also not a political persecution against him.

“It is about the powers and obligations of members of DUN to protect the sanctity of this House.

“One of the issues before the Court of Appeal was whether Dr Ting had acquired Australian citizenship, had been disqualified from being elected as a member of this house. Further, whether his act of renouncing subsequently such citizenship had the effect of remedying the disqualification,” he said.

He also stressed that two of the Court of Appeal judges had expressly said the act of acquiring a foreign citizenship had the effect of disqualifying that person to be elected as a member of DUN.

The consequence of such pronouncements is that the Court of Appeal was of view that the renunciation of Dr Ting’s Australian citizenship had no effect on his disqualification to be elected as a member of DUN.

“The judges also differed in their opinions as to whether DUN is empowered to do anything about it, and by a majority, the Court ruled that DUN did not have the power to act at all.

“To ignore or not do anything about the laws provided in this particular case means members of DUN accept that they are powerless to prevent a disqualified person from remaining as a member,” Abdul Karim added.

He also reminded all members of DUN that in their oath before taking their seats as members of the House, each and everyone had solemnly swore that they will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Sarawak. — DayakDaily