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Friday, April 20, 2018

Gabungan Sabah opposition leaders briefly denied entry to court hearing redelineation case

KOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee was briefly refused entry into the High Court here when he turned up to attend a case on the constitutional position of Sabah's 13 new state seats.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, who is among seven people from local opposition coalition Gabungan Sabah who filed a suit on April 2 to compel the Prime Minister to table the new seats in Parliament, was stopped by court security for about half an hour before being allowed in at 9.55am on Friday.

It is understood that the court official allowed Yong and the Gabungan group of about 40 leaders and supporters to enter after they gave their assurance that they would be orderly.

In court, Judge Azhahari Kamal Ramli fixed April 23 to decide on whether the Prime Minister should have tabled the Election Commission (EC) report on the new seats in Parliament.

During case submission, senior federal counsel Andi Razalijaya A. Dadi, representing the Attorney-General's Chambers, argued that the case is academic as the Parliament has already been dissolved and that the plaintiff had no legal standing.

The senior federal counsel also argued that the EC is not the proper party to the matter, and that the mandamus order to compel the Prime Minister to table the new seats in Parliament was misconceived at law.

In the summons, the Prime Minister and the EC were named as defendants.

Yong's lawyers argued that according to the Federal Constitution, the Prime Minister had no discretion to withhold tabling the EC report in Parliament.

They also argued that the case is not academic, as it will still bind the next Prime Minister, and that despite Parliament dissolution, the three Federal Government branches (executive, legislature and judiciary) exist in perpetuity.

"Our case is about the Prime Minister's constitutional duty to table the EC report in Parliament at the first available opportunity.

"Although Parliament has been dissolved, later on there will another Prime Minister and we want the EC report on Sabah to be tabled at the next available Parliament sitting," Yong told reporters after case submissions.

Other plaintiffs in the originating summons are SAPP vice president Datuk Shuaib Mutalib; Gabungan Sabah secretary Edward Dagul; SAPP EC Matters committee chairman Japiril Suhaimin; Parti Solidariti Tanah Air (STAR) deputy president Edward Linggu; Parti Harapan Rakyat youth chief Jovilis Majami; and Parti Perpaduan Sabah executive secretary Anesthicia Usun.

Gabungan was represented by lawyers Yong Yit Jee, Benazir Japirul Bandaran and Ken Yong.

Gabungan is a four-party coalition that includes SAPP led by Yong, Sabah STAR led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah led by Datuk Lajim Ukin, and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) led by Mohd Arshad Abdul Maulap. - Star Online News

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