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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sarawak DAP to decide on legal action over Pujut rep’s dismissal

Emergency party meeting today to discuss legal recourse says state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen, who accuses BN reps, speaker of usurping powers of judiciary.
KUCHING: Following the summary dismissal of Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon by BN assemblymen at the Sarawak assembly, the DAP will decide on its legal options after an emergency meeting here today.
“The (party’s) state committee will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the matter about the disqualification of Ting as a rightfully elected representative,” Sarawak DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen told reporters.
Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman, did not say as to who would provide legal counsel or whether lawmakers from the party’s national leadership would be involved.
Ting was dismissed as an elected representative under Article 17(1)(g) of the state constitution for voluntarily acquiring citizenship outside Malaysia.
The motion, tabled by Sarawak second finance minister Wong Soon Koh, was put to a vote and received the support of 70 Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers who voted in favour of it. All 10 opposition members voted against it.
Wong said Ting acquired Australian citizenship on Jan 20, 2010, and renounced it on April 4, 2016, a month before the Sarawak election on May 8.
“What happened on Friday has set a very dangerous precedent in the democratic system in Malaysia and in Sarawak, whereby the powers of the judiciary were usurped by the legislature.
“The legislature playing the role of the judiciary, stripping off the rightfully elected assemblyman’s status,” said Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP.
Chong said it is “very likely” that the DAP would take the matter up to the Federal Court as the party considered Friday’s proceedings as an “infringement of the constitutional spirit” of Malaysia.
“There is clearly a separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and the legislature. And as for the Sarawak state constitution, there is more than one way to interpret the provision which was used to disqualify Ting by the Barisan Nasional government,” Chong said.
“Such interpretive roles should be played by Federal judges and not by the speaker and the brute majority of the BN members,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chong said there was “double standards” when it comes to BN members who may be holding permanent resident (PR) status in other countries.
“When Dr Ting was elected, he was no longer an Australian citizen. He has always been a Malaysian citizen,” Chong said.
“My question to Dr Sim (Kui Hian) is, was he still holding a PR status when he was first nominated six years ago as a candidate (to contest) the Pending state seat. And is he still holding a PR status in Australia?”
Sim is the president of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and the state minister of local government and housing.
“Ting has renounced his Australian citizenship even before the nomination. That shows the resolve of the person to come back and stay permanently in Sarawak as compared with someone who is still holding a PR status, which means he has a second choice to go back to Australia,” Chong said.
Sim had earlier denied that he has Australian citizenship despite spending 17 years in Australia. He also told reporters at the Sarawak assembly that he no longer has PR status.
“I’ve stayed there (Australia) for 17 years but I am not a PR now,” he was quoted as saying by The Borneo Post.
Sim said individuals with specific skills could be granted automatic PR status in Australia. He was not questioned as to when his PR status was rescinded.
“I spent 17 years in Australia as a high school student, then as a medical student, and later as a specialist. And the minute I completed my training as a specialist, I went back to Malaysia,” Sim said.
“All this time, I never took Australian citizenship. The difference is when I came back, I worked in a public hospital, I set up a heart centre for the people. Unlike the other party (DAP), (where) they always criticise (others) and their doctors work in private, making money for themselves and yet serving the public (as lawmakers),” he said. -FMT

1 comment:

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