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Friday, June 9, 2017

Court decision on Pujut rep's disqualification one day before nominations

The High Court in Kuching will decide on DAP's Dr Ting Tiong Choon's challenge to his disqualification as Pujut assemblyperson on June 19, one day before nominations for the scheduled by-election.
Ting's lawyer Wong King Wei told Malaysiakini that the court gave leave today for the case to be tried, with both sides ordered to submit their case facts by next Tuesday.
"The arguments of submissions by the counsels from both sides will then be conducted next Thursday and Friday (June 15, 16).
"Ruling will be on the June 19, the eve of nomination," Wong said.
The Election Commission has already set the nomination day for June 20, with polling on July 4.
Ting was disqualified as Pujut rep due to him having had Australian citizenship.
This is in accordance with Article 17(1)(g) of the Sarawak Constitution, which states that any person who willingly obtains foreign citizenship or exercises the rights of a foreign citizenship would be disqualified from being a state assemblyperson.
However, Ting argued in his affidavit that he had already renounced his Australian citizenship on April 4, 2016, which was before the April 25 nomination day for that year's Sarawak state elections.
Thus he wants a declaration that his disqualification had actually contravened Article 17(1)(g) of the Sarawak Constitution, and is thus void.

Constitutional experts however have pointed out that Article 19(1) of the Sarawak state constitution states that any question relating to the disqualification is determined by the assembly itself, and that the decision is final.
During the Sarawak state election last year, Ting won a four-corner fight for Pujut with a majority of 1,759 votes over BN’s Hii King Chiong, PAS' Jofri Jaraiee and independent Fong Pau Teck.
Hii had previously sought to disqualify Ting's victory in court over the same alleged dual citizenship issue, but the Election Court had dismissed this on technical grounds last year. -Mkini

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