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by Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Feb 11: Will the Sarawak government pursue further action against disqualified former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon over his dual citizenship case?
Dr Ting was disqualified on May 12, 2017 for having Malaysian and Australian citizenship following a motion tabled by the then Sarawak International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.
In the Federal Court today in Putrajaya, a 7-2 majority decision by nine-man panel ruled that the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) has the final say in disqualifying Dr Ting and cited Article 19 of the Sarawak Constitution and Article 72 of the Federal Constitution which state, respectively, that the assembly has the final say in such a matter and that assembly proceedings cannot be questioned in any court.
Although Sarawak DUN Speaker Datuk Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said he cannot ‘disclose all the cards at a time’, pursuing further action may be the next step.
“This is a landmark case because Dr Ting had previously acquired Australian citizenship which is unforgivable as it involves the question of loyalty to Malaysia.
“Before you become a candidate in an election, you’ve filled in the declaration form that you are a citizen of Malaysia and have never lost the Malaysian citizenship. You’re suppose to declare the truth. In Australia, they are very strict about this and there is no second thought. If their minister was caught with dual citizenship, it is stripped (gesture by Mohd Asfia),” he said at press conference in the DUN complex here today.
Asked if a police report would be lodged against Dr Ting for having dual citizenship, the speaker repeated that they will take one step at a time.
Meanwhile, responding to a question on if Pujut voters could file a summons against Dr Ting for lying about his citizenship, Mohd Asfia said it is up to the voters.
It was also reported by The Star that Dr Ting had acquired Australian citizenship on Jan 20, 2010 but renounced it on April 4, 2016, had exercised the rights of an Australian citizen by registering as a voter with the Australian Election Commission and made a declaration of allegiance to Australia at the time he acquired citizenship. — DayakDaily