Pujut assemblyman loses seat: Masing lauds Federal Court’s decision

Tan Sri James Masing

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Feb 11: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing believes that the Federal Court’s decision on Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon “dual citizenship” case is good and fair.

He questioned where the loyalty of a lawmaker with dual citizenship would lie in a situation where it is tested.

“It’s a good and fair judicial decision. How can we have a lawmaker with dual citizenship? He or she will have dual loyalty should a situation arise where he or she is tested,” Masing told DayakDaily.

Following the decision by a rare nine-member Federal Court bench at Palace of Justice in Putrajaya today, Dr Ting lost his representation in the Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) and thus, his Pujut seat in a seven-to-two majority decision.

On May 12, 2017, the then Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh tabled a motion to disqualify Dr Ting on the grounds that the latter held dual citizenship. The motion was passed in DUN and Dr Ting was stripped of his DUN membership 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 the Kuching High Court on June 7, 2017. The High Court ruled in favour of Dr Ting following which his DUN membership was restored.

On July 13, 2018, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Mohd Asfia, Wong and the two respondents.

The respondents then appealed to the Federal Court which today ruled in their favour.

Masing who is Infrastructure and Port Development Minister also believed that Dr Ting should not have been considered as a state election candidate when during the material time, he was holding dual-citizenship.

“In the first place, Dr Ting should not have been considered to be a candidate for Pujut knowing that he was once both a Malaysian and Australian citizen as it is against the Malaysian law to have dual citizenship.

“Even though he gave up his Australian citizenship prior to standing for DAP (Democratic Action Party) as their Pujut candidate, as it is against the Malaysian law to have dual citizenship, there will always be the lingering question whether a person who holds two citizenships at once should be a lawmaker,” said Masing. — DayakDaily