Court to proceed with ‘two Sabah chief ministers’ case

KOTA KINABALU: The High Court has set Oct 26 to decide on the “two Sabah chief ministers” lawsuit after Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s application to strike out Tan Sri Musa Aman’s suit challenging Shafie’s appointment as Chief Minister was rejected by the court on Friday (Aug 24).

Kuching-based High Court judge Yew Jen Kie said that she had considered the submissions of all parties and was satisfied that Musa’s originating summons had raised questions of law which required full consideration and it was therefore not right to strike out the suit.

Justice Yu made the ruling in chambers at the Kota Kinabalu High Court here via teleconference with Musa’s lawyer Tengku Fuad Ahmad and Shafie’s lawyer Datuk Douglas Lind.

She ordered Musa’s lawyers to file submissions by Sept 14 and for the defendants to respond by Sept 28.

Musa’s lawyer will given until Oct 5 to respond to submissions from Shafie and a decision will be made on Oct 26.

The ruling on Shafie’s bid to strike out Musa’s case was originally set for Sept 3, but was brought forward to Friday, (Aug 24).

Musa, who claims to be the rightful Sabah chief minister due to his swearing in on May 10, filed a originating summons against the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin for “illegally” swearing in Shafie as Chief Minister on May 12.

Shafie, who was named as second defendant in the suit, had applied to strike out Musa’s lawsuit on the grounds that the latter had no reasonable grounds to challenge his appointment as Chief Minister on May 12.

Shafie, who is also the Parti Warisan Sabah president, said that it was indisputable that he was the rightful “Sabah Chief Minister ” as his party and their partners PKR, DAP and Upko had a clear majority of 35 assemblymen against Sabah Barisan Nasional and Sabah STAR’s 25 assemblymen in the 60-member state assembly.

Shafie said that he was duly sworn in by the Governor under Article 6(3) of the Sabah Constitution that allows the Governor to appoint the Chief Minister based on his judgement that such a person was likely to command the majority of support.

He said the Governor had also acted in accordance to Article 7(1) of the State Constitution as Musa, who was sworn in May 10, had already lost his majority in the assembly.

Shafie contended that in line with the spirit of the article, since Musa did not seek to dissolve the legislative assembly to allow for fresh elections, then he should have resigned with his cabinet.

The High Court is expected to decide on Oct 26 the originating summons filed by Musa against Juhar and Shafie.

This case will be decided together with another suit by Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Tamparuli assemblyman, who filed an application to stop the speaker from allowing the state assembly to convene on July 11.

Juhar and the state speaker are represented by state Attorney General Zaleha Rose.

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