KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly will become a laughing stock if it does not disqualify Dr Ting Tiong Choon as the member for Pujut after acquiring an Australian citizenship, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said last night.
“It so happened that our friend from Pujut was a non-Malaysian so we were forced to take action against him because we cannot allow non-Malaysian to be a member,” he said at the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) dinner, normally held after the conclusion of each session of the State Assembly.
Abang Johari said it was the first time that the State Assembly had taken action against any member found to be non-Malaysian.
“Once you are sworn-in as a member, you swear to protect our constitution and pledge allegiance to Malaysia and to the King,” he said.
He said whatever it was, the Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammed Asfia Awang Nasar had applied correct Standing Orders of the State Assembly to disqualify Dr Ting and was done in accordance with the State Constitution.
On May 12, the Second Minister of Finance and Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh tabled a motion to disqualify Dr Ting for voluntarily acquiring the Australian citizenship, exercising his rights of citizenship by registering as voter in Australia and made declaration of allegiance to any country outside the federation of Malaysia.
Wong claimed that Dr Ting had acquired the Australian citizenship in 2010, but renounced in April last year.
He had said that Dr Ting had breached Article 17(1)(g) of the State Constitution to have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign country.
In a vote of 70-10, Dr Ting had ceased to be the member of the State Assembly from Pujut.
The former Pujut State Assemblyman had said that he would file court action against the Speaker and Wong for the disqualification.
After the disqualification, the Election Commission then fixed July 4 as polling day to fill the vacancy in Pujut. Nomination day was fixed for June 20.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari praised the Barisan Nasional’s backbenchers for their high quality of debate in the State Assembly.
“I am pleased with your performances in the debate because you have raised up relevant issues which are close to the rakyat,” he said.
He said he expected the level of debate to go higher in the next session of the State Assembly because the Barisan Nasional’s backbenchers of had done their homework.-dayakdaily.com