Federal Court rejects Pujut rep’s application for leave to appeal

Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon (centre) with his lawyers Chong Siew Chiang (right) and Wong King Wei.

KUCHING, Feb 28: The Federal Court today dismissed Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon’s application for leave, to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision on his preliminary objections again the State Legislative Assembly’s (DUN) appeal on his legality as a state assemblyman.

Ting has also failed to obtain leave from the Federal Court to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision that the Sarawak Attorney General (SAG) has the authority to file an appeal on behalf of DUN.

The decision was made unanimously by a three-judge panel, namely president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Tan Sri Ramly Ali and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan.

“After hearing the verbal and written submissions from counsels for the appellant and the respondent, we are unanimous in our decision to dismiss the application for leave. The application is dismissed as it has no merit,” Zulkefli said.

Zulkefli also instruct Ting to pay RM5,000 as cost to the respondent.

On May 12, Ting was dismissed as an assemblyman under Article 17(1)(g) of the state constitution for voluntarily acquiring citizenship outside Malaysia.

The motion, tabled by Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, was put to a vote and received the support of 70 Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers.

On June 17, 2017, High Court judge Datuk Douglas Christo Primus Sikayun overturned the DUN’s decision and reinstated Ting, saying that DUN was not a competent body to decide on the composition of its membership.

The case is also now at the Court of Appeal, and a decision have yet to be made, as they are waiting for today’s Federal Court’s decision.

Ting, who was represented by Chong Siew Chiang, Tan Khee Heng and Wong King Wei, argued that the DUN Secretary has no jurisdiction to make a decision such as issuing instructions to the SAG to file an appeal on behalf of DUN when there was no resolution made from all the state assembly representatives (ADUN).

When met outside the court room, Chong said: “This means the DUN secretary has the right to decide for DUN to appeal despite the fact that there was a resolution by the ADUNs. The authority has implied this from the beginning.”

Meanwhile, Wong said under the Sarawak Constitution, in any decision made in DUN, there must be a simple majority of 82 members.

“No meetings was convened after the High Court’s decision and before the lodging of the appeal. So technically, the decision by DUN to appeal is bad in law, so we challenge it. But the three Federal Court judges dismissed our objection on this, so now the appeal will proceed in Court of Appeal,” he said. — DayakDaily