Sabah CM: Musa Aman appeals tomorrow


KOTA KINABALU – Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (picture) is set to appeal against the dismissal of his suit in challenging Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s appointment as Sabah Chief Minister, at the Court of Appeal here tomorrow.

The appeal will be heard before a three-member bench comprising justices Datuk Kamardin Hashim, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

Musa will be represented by a team of lawyers led by Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, while Mohd Shafie is expected to be represented by Datuk Douglas Lind.

A former senior court of appeal judge Datuk Anantham Kasinather is also expected to appear in assisting the team representing Musa as senior counsel after the High Court here allowed an application for an ad hoc admission of Anantham on Nov 15 for him to practise in Sabah.

When making the application before High Court judge Ismail Brahim, Tengku Fuad submitted that the case was complex in nature, which raises the question on the extent of the Head of State’s powers in appointing and dismissing a chief minister.

He said the Head of State’s power to appoint or dismiss a chief minister had yet to be argued in the courts.

On Nov 7 last year, the High Court here dismissed the suit brought by Musa against Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Mohd Shafie that Musa was the lawful chief minister, and ruled that Mohd Shafie’s appointment as Chief Minister was constitutional.

In her ruling, Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie said based on the authority in the Perak menteri besar case of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin against Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, it was clear that when the Sabah cabinet, including the chief minister, were deemed to have vacated their respective offices, it paved the way for the Sabah Head of State to appoint Mohd Shafie to replace Musa pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Sabah Constitution.

Yew also held that Musa had lost the command of the majority in the state assembly as it was evidently clear that with the defection of six assemblymen from Barisan Nasional Sabah (BN Sabah), the assemblymen from BN Sabah decreased from 29 to 23 out of 60 seats in the Sabah State Assembly.

She said Juhar was convinced that Musa had lost the command of the confidence of the majority of the assemblymen based on the statutory declarations made by the six assemblymen.

The power tussle between BN Sabah and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and its Pakatan Harapan allies began following last year’s General Election, when there was a 29-29 tie between the two coalitions.

After BN managed to gain support from two assemblymen from Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star), it declared to have garnered a simple majority, hence, Musa was sworn in as chief minister on May 10.

However, the following day, several defections occurred from BN to the Warisan-led coalition and Musa no longer held the majority, prompting Juhar to swear in Mohd Shafie as chief minister two days after Musa’s swearing-in.