State should recover allowance, monetary perks given during Dr Ting’s tenure as Pujut rep

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Feb 11: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar opines Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) should file a case against disqualified Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon to recover the payment in wages made to the latter since his disqualification as assemblyman from May 12, 2017.

“Since the disqualification started at the onset, it would be prudent to consider legal action against Dr Ting to recover the allowance, perks and other monetary benefits he gained during the tenure of his office which is deemed illegal,” said Wan Junaidi, adding that Sarawak DUN was vindicated by the Federal Court’s ruling this morning on Dr Ting’s case.

On May 12, 2017, the then Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh tabled a motion to disqualify Dr Ting on the ground that the latter owned dual citizenship. The motion was passed in Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) and Dr Ting’s DUN membership was stripped off on the same day.

In response, Dr Ting challenged DUN’s decision and brought Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Wong, and the Sarawak government to Kuching High Court on June 7, 2017. The case went from the High Court and later the Court of Appeal.

This morning, a rare nine-member Federal Court bench at Palace of Justice in Putrajaya ruled in favour of Sarawak DUN and Speaker Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, resulting in Dr Ting losing his representation in DUN and thus, his Pujut seat in a seven-to-two majority decision.

Wan Junaidi, who is a lawyer by training, said obviously, the disqualification started at the very beginning as soon as the person become the citizen of another country, and suggested that the same principle be applied to members of parliament.

“But what is interesting here is that DAP (Democratic Action Party) leaders seemed to have a short memory of what happened in Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) some years back when DAP MPs in the Dewan Rakyat always ran-down, time and again, an MCA (Malaysia Chinese Association) minister from Barisan Nasional simply because she had, before becoming the minister, a permanent residence status of Australia.

“Why then did they choose Dr Ting to be the candidate knowing that he was a citizen of Australia, or ought to have known that Dr Ting was an Australian citizen?

“Or could Dr Ting Tiong Choon have hid the fact from DAP that he held citizenship of Australia while still holding Malaysian citizenship, though he renounced Australia’s citizenship before becoming a candidate in the Sarawak State election?” asked Wan Junaidi

He said Article 24 of Federal Constitution gives the federal government the option to renounce the citizenship of any person who had acquired the citizenship or claimed or exercised the rights of other countries outside the Federation.

Pursuant to this Article, the government also has adopted the principle of not granting citizenship to any Malaysian who had renounced his or her citizenship, he added.

“Obviously from the Article 24 of the Federal Constitution and policy adopted by the federal government, there is a strong legal and policy decision against any person who has renounced his or her citizenship, whether through direct renouncement or indirect deprivation of citizenship.

“It all boils down to loyalty to the country. The person who has renounced under Article 23 or deprived of his citizenship under Article 24 of the Federal Constitution is of questionable loyalty.

“The basic tenet of any country is the need for every citizen to be loyal to his country and not to trade that loyalty for other gain or advantage.”

On the question of a by-election following Dr Ting’s disqualification, Wan Junaidi said there will be none.

“Since this verdict is delivered within two years of the date of the term of the DUN ends, therefore, there is no by-election for the constituency of the DUN Pujut be held,” said Wan Junaidi. —DayakDaily