No need for Batu Lintang rep to vacate seat, says DUN Speaker

Mohamad Asfia speaking to reporters during the press conference in the DUN complex today (Aug 22, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Aug 22: Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar says Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How does not need to vacate his seat despite resigning from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and the party’s claim of an undertaking with him.

While See had signed a letter of undertaking with PSB prior to the State election last year, promising to vacate the seat if he left the party, Mohamad Asfia said he did not receive the letter until after See resigned.

Mohamad Asfia pointed out that the letter of undertaking should have been given to him 15 days after the last State election.

“I cannot determine whether See is disqualified from membership in the DUN under Article 17(7)(a) of the Sarawak State Constitution.

“Article 17(7)(a) of the Sarawak State Constitution applies and I quote: ‘where a person has voluntarily given an undertaking in writing to the Speaker that he will not resign his membership of the party for which he stood or which he belonged to when he is elected to the DUN…’, then he would be disqualified as a member of the Dewan, and his seat becomes vacant.

“The plain language of Article 17(7)(a) means that for the undertaking to be effective must be given before an elected person resigns from the party under which he stood for election,” he explained today during a press conference held in the DUN complex here.

He emphasised that three days after See resigned from PSB, on Aug 15, 2022, he received a letter from PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh enclosing a letter of undertaking purportedly signed by See.

“Prior to Aug 15, I never received any letter of undertaking from See stating that he will not resign his membership to which he was elected under PSB.

“The purported letter of undertaking said to be signed by See was delivered by the PSB president to my office on Aug 15 which was three days after I received a letter from See that he had resigned from PSB with immediate effect,” he added.

Mohamad Asfia also revealed that See stated in his letter dated Aug 12, 2022 that he “will continue to serve the constituents in N11 Batu Lintang”.

“What he said in his letter of Aug 12 casts serious doubt that he had voluntarily undertaken in writing to me that he would vacate his seat in the DUN if he should resign from PSB.

“In any event, he resigned from PSB before the purported letter of undertaking was sent to my office by the PSB president.

“The letter of undertaking purportedly signed by See on Dec 3, 2021 was kept by PSB for 8 months 12 days,” he pointed out, noting that the letter was addressed specifically and explicitly to the DUN Speaker.

He added that the letter of undertaking was sent to him on Aug 15, three days after See submitted his resignation from PSB on Aug 12, and one day after he announced See’s resignation from PSB on Aug 14, 2022.

“It’s like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

“The seat N11 Batu Lintang therefore is not vacant and there would be no by-election,” Mohamad Asfia said. — DayakDaily