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PUBLISHED: Jun 17, 2017 7:14pm

EC accepts court decision, Sarawak assemblyman retains seat

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Source: Bernama Source:
Bernama

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PUTRAJAYA, 17 June 2017: 

The Election Commission (EC) accepts the decision of the Kuching high court that Dr Ting Tiong Choon remains as the Sarawak assemblyman for Pujut, said EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.

In a statement today, he said, EC would take further action in line with the court’s decision.

“The EC will hold a special meeting on this matter to finalise the decision involving the dates that have been fixed prior to this.”

The Kuching high court today overturned the decision made by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly on May 12 to disqualify Dr Ting – following a motion tabled by Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh alleging that he was holding dual citizenship (Malaysian and Australian) – resulting in a vacancy for the assembly seat.

Based on the decision, the court also decided the status quo of the state assemblyman remained and his post had been reinstated, said Mohd Hashim.

Meanwhile, Dr Ting hoped the case would serve as a lesson to other parties in following proper procedures.

“I have not done anything wrong and have not wronged the people of Pujut…and I slept well every night before the proceeding today,” he told reporters outside the court here today.

He subsequently filed an originating summons in the Kuching High Court to challenge the State Legislative Assembly’s decision.

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen concurred the case was a lesson to everyone “to respect the laws, the constitutions, the principle of natural justice and reasonableness in decision, policies and the laws”.

Dr Ting’s leading counsel, Chong Siew Chiang said Dr Ting won the case based on various grounds which included interpretation of the constitutions and natural justice.

He said state assembly speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar did not give sufficient time to Dr Ting to defend himself when the motion was moved at 10.30am and hurriedly made the verdict to disqualify him.

“So when that was not granted the speaker had broken the first link of natural justice and another one was, he cannot be the judge of his own case, and in this case the speaker was the prosecutor and also the judge, which is not allowed because it is against the second link of natural justice.”

He also pointed to the judge’s finding that the speaker had wrongly interpreted the law, in particular Article 23(1) and 24(1) of the Federal Constitution.

“We are very happy about it (court’s decision) and most importantly the judge has been working very hard to expedite the case.

“The decision was supposed to be made on Monday but he did it today and by virtue of his judgement today he saved a lot of labour, money, time and the work, not only for the government but also all the parties concerned.

“If he delivers his judgement on Monday you can imagine there will be a lot of money spent for nothing.”

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