KOTA KINABALU — Nov. 7 , 2018: The High Court today ruled the appointment of Datuk Seri Mohd. Shafie Apdal as the chief minister of Sabah on May 12 as constitutional.
According to Judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie, Tan Sri Musa Aman, who was appointed a day after the general elections on May 9, had lost the confidence of the majority of the state assembly after six Barisan Nasional assemblymen shifted their support to Shafie.
She also ruled that Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had exercised his powers under Article 6(3) of state constitution to appoint Shafie as the CM after finding that Musa no longer commanded the confidence of the majority of the assembly.
“Pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Sabah constitution, it is mandatory for Musa to resign or vacate the post after he had lost command of the majority.
“For the above reasons, I dismiss the plaintiff’s (Musa’s) originating summons to challenge Shafie’s appointment as chief minister,” said Yew and ordered Musa to pay costs of RM30,000 to Shafie and Juhar.
The judge made the ruling after hearing submissions from counsels Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad and S. Vanugopal for Musa on October 24 while Datuk Douglas Lind acted for Shafie and state Attoney-General Datuk Zaleha Rose Pandin for Juhar.
Musa was sworn in after Barisan Nasional had secured a simple majority in the elections but lost that when several assemblymen jumped ship. He has said that he will appeal today’s decision.
“This issue goes beyond whether I am chief minister or not. This is about the sanctity and proper interpretation of Sabah’s constitution and the Sabah head of state’s (Yang Dipertua Negeri) powers to appoint and dismiss a chief minister.
“I am of the view that these issues have not been fully resolved today and I have instructed my lawyers to appeal today’s decision,” he said.
When approached by reporters after the decision was delivered, Tengku Fuad said Musa respected Yew’s decision while disagreeing with many of her findings.
“I want to point out that there is no federal court case on Sabah’s constitutional laws and we still take the position that Sabah’s constitution is different from Perak’s,” he said, adding that today’s decision was entirely based on the Perak mentri besar’s case in 2009.
Tengku Fuad’s argument that Sabah’s constitution was different from that of Perak’s was not accepted by the court.
“This is a new Malaysia and the judiciary is independent. Let’s challenge (today’s decision) all the way up. Let’s have the Court of Appeal hear this case at the very least on Sabah’s constitution,” he said. — Bernama