Former Pujut assemblyman takes disqualification to court

Sarawak DAP chairman and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, Chong Chieng Jen, talks to reporters outside the Kuching court complex today. Former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon (in brown checkered shirt) is standing behind Chong. - dayakdaily.com

KUCHING: Dr Ting Tiong Choon, the former DAP Pujut assemblyman who was disqualified as a lawmaker because he was once an Australian citizen, has taken his disqualification to court.

Ting this morning filed an originating summons in a Kuching High Court seeking a declaration that his disqualification was null and void and of no effect for being ultra vires of the law.

The 51 year-old medical doctor, is also seeking a declaration that the proceedings and decision taken in the state assembly on May 12 that culminated in his disqualification was not immune from scrutiny by the court by virtue of a legal precedent and that it was against the rule of natural justice as he was not given sufficient time to prepare his defence.

Ting said the disqualification was also in contravention to Article 17(1) (g) of the Sarawak state Constitution, Article 118 and 121 of the Federal Constitution.

Dr Ting is also seeking a declaration that his disqualification could only be made by way of an Election Petition “as provided in the Election Offences Act, 1954” and that the state legislative assembly has no power “to interpret the law so as to make a finding of facts and law” relating to whether he was disqualified under Article 17(1)(g) of the Sarawak Constitution.

He has also sought an order for a stay on his disqualification until the disposal of the case by the court and is is seeking damages.

Ting has named the Speaker of the Sarawak state assembly, Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasser, as the first defendant, Minister for International Trade and E-Commerce and president of the United People’s Party (UPP), Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh as the second defendant with the state legislative assembly as the third, the state government, the fourth and the Election Commission the fifth defendant.

Soon Koh moved the motion to disqualify Dr Ting in the DUN.

He had used Article 17 (1)(g) of the Sarawak Constitution, which states that “a person is disqualified from being an elected member of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (the state legislative assembly) if he has voluntarily acquired citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, or has made declaration of allegiance to any country outside the Federation (of Malaysia)”, to disqualify Ting

The assembly voted 70 for to 10 against, to disqualify Ting.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen told reporters that Ting was seeking a court declaration as the state assembly “has no jurisdiction and power to interpret” Article 17 (1) (g).

Ting, after 20 years in Australia, took out the Australian citizenship in 2010.

He has however renounced the citizenship on April 4 last year.

A by-election has been called by the EC with June 20 fixed as the nomination day and July 4 as the polling day. – dayakdaily.com