PUTRAJAYA: Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon has failed to strike out the Sarawak State Assembly’s (DUN) appeal against a High Court ruling to retain him in the seat, reports Bernama.
The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed Ting’s application, ruling that the appeal lodged by the Sarawak Attorney-General (AG) on behalf of the state assembly was competent.
The three-man panel was chaired by Justice Datuk Rohana Yusuf, with Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Suraya Othmas as the other two judges.
The panel also dismissed Ting’s application to strike out the notice of appeal filed by DUN speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar.
The hearing for the state assembly’s appeal in Kuching was set for Oct 26 by the court registrar.
It is not known whether Ting plans to elevate the matter to the Federal Court.
Ting’s counsel Tan Kee Heng had earlier argued that the notice of appeal filed by the state AG on behalf of DUN was defective as the AG was not authorised to file the appeal based on the instruction of the DUN secretary.
Tan said the 82 DUN assemblymen should have been the ones to decide whether the DUN should file the appeal, but the state assembly did not sit to hear and debate on the High Court’s findings to decide on the matter.
He also argued that DUN and the state AG are separate entities and the AG could not represent the legislative arm of the government as it was a member of the executive.
However, Sarawak deputy AG Saferi Ali argued that the state assembly had the right to appeal as it was adversely affected by the High Court’s decision, and that the state AG was duty bound to safeguard the interest of the august House and defend DUN.
On May 12, Ting was disqualified as Pujut assemblyman by the Barisan Nasional (BN) controlled DUN for allegedly having dual Australian and Malaysian citizenship, after a majority vote.
Ting filed an originating summons to challenge the move, naming Mohamad Asfia, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, the DUN and the Election Commission as respondents.
On June 17, the High Court in Kuching ruled in his favour and reinstated him as Pujut assemblyman.