Musa’s appeal to review Sabah dissolution continues today

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

HEARING of an appeal led by former Sabah Chief Minister (CM) Tan Sri Musa Aman (picture; centre) over the dissolution of Sabah legislative assembly continues today with submissions from the state government’s side.

Legal counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who is representing Musa and 32 other Sabah assemblymen, completed his submissions yesterday at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

The 33 state assemblymen are appealing against a decision by Kota Kinabalu High Court that dismissed their application for leave for a judicial review to challenge the decision of Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to dissolve the assembly.

The 15th Sabah state assembly (PRN) dissolved effectively on July 30, 2020, after several elected representatives crossed over to the pact led by Musa, who is a Sungai Sibuga assemblyman, in an attempt to form a new government.

Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who chaired a three-panel bench that included Justices Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Supang Lian, adjourned yesterday’s proceedings until this noon as the panel had another case to hear in the morning.

Musa and several of the 32 assemblymen were present at the appellate court yesterday.

Sabah Attorney General Brenndon Keith Soh is acting for Juhar, while counsel Datuk Cyrus Das is appearing for caretaker CM Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and the state government.

Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan is representing the Election Commission (EC).

Cyrus started his submission yesterday and will continue today.

The appeal hearing will go on as political parties in Sabah are gearing up for the 16th PRN that has been fixed on Sept 26. The EC set this Saturday for nomination.

On Aug 21, Sarawak-based Judicial Commissioner Leonard David Shim dismissed the application by the 33 assemblymen for leave for a judicial review of the decision of Juhar in dissolving the state legislative assembly.

Shim ruled that the second respondent in the case, Mohd Shafie as the Sabah CM had acted within the Sabah Constitution in requesting the first respondent, Juhar to dissolve the state assembly.

Shim said the proclamation to dissolve the state assembly was constitutional and valid.

He said the court looked into the substance rather than the form of the written request, which was a letter by Mohd Shafie to Juhar to dissolve the assembly.

The 33 assemblymen contended that the letter was invalid and incapable of invoking Juhar‘s power to dissolve the state assembly, and therefore it was ultra vires the Sabah Constitution and justiciable.