KUCHING: The Kuching High Court overturning the Pujut assemblyman disqualification as a member of the Sarawak legislature is a victory for justice, Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said.
The PKR state chief, who voted against dismissing Dr Ting Tiong Choon for his Australian citizenship in the state assembly on May 12, said the ruling by Justice Datuk Douglas Christo Primus Sikayun, “made a clear and strong ruling on the law”.
“The state assembly has no express powers to deal with an election result.”
The ruling, he said, is “comforting for all who value democracy and justice”.
“If the dismissal had been allowed to remain, in the Malaysian context, an assemblyman or a parliamentarian in the minority would have no chance of seeing justice served in such a politically motivated scenario,” he said referring to the voting pattern in the 81-member assembly where the 70 BN assemblymen voted to disqualify Ting while the 10 opposition members voted against.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg did not vote as he was away in China.
“Members of the ruling BN had taken on the role of prosecutor and judge, without any intention of allowing the accused sufficient opportunity to defend himself.”
Baru, a senior lawyer in the state, said the judge commented rightly that the rule of natural justice had not been complied with and adhered to.
“This ruling serves as a timely reminder, or perhaps a long overdue one, to the BN-led government of the doctrine of the separation of powers of the three organs of government.”
He said in the proceeding in the state assembly to hear the motion to disqualify Ting, the Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar had taken on judicial powers “to which he had no right”.
He also said if one were to recall the chain of events which emanated from a ministerial motion tabled by Minister for International Trade and E-Commerce Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, “this points to the Sarawak government as the initiator of the motion for the dismissal of Dr Ting”.
“The state government’s legal advisors should have advised against the motion, if they had applied their minds to the legal implications.
“It appears that the august house had been used as a political arena, and now with this decision, one could say that the executive- the state government – has also been put in its place by the judiciary, besides the legislative.”
Baru said this whole legal episode had served to tarnish the image of the Sarawak government and the State Assembly.
The three organs of government owe a duty to the people they serve to behave with integrity and fairness.
“Clearly, it has been shown that two of these organs have failed in their duties to the people by indulging in political maneouverings that could be construed as an exercise in the abuse of power.
“The parties involved should take this as a lesson learnt.” – dayakdaily.com