PUTRAJAYA — Sept. 8, 2020: After listening to submissions from yesterday, the Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal by 33 Sabah assemblymen to challenge the consent given by governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to dissolve the state legislative assembly.
This means that for now the nomination day fixed for September 12 by the Election Commission and Sept. 26 for the election remains on scheduled but the group of 33 lead by former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman has decided to appeal to the Federal Court, their last avenue.
A three-member bench chaired by Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil ruled that there was no appealable error by Judicial Commissioner Leonard David Shim in refusing a leave application by the group for judicial review. The other members were Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Supang Lian.
Karim agreed that the governor’s decision was non-justiciable and that the dissolution is not amenable to judicial review.
“The court cannot interfere on matters relating to dissolution. The governor had exercised his discretion in accordance with the Sabah constitution,” he said.
Lawyer Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin for the group immediately applied for an oral stay pending appeal to the apex court but state Attorney-General Brenndon Keith Soo argued that the application should be disallowed as there was no appeal pending since the appellants’ leave for judicial review had been dismissed.
Lawyer Datuk Cyrus Das, for Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and the state government, also said that stay should be disallowed as nomination is due to take place in 72 hours.
Federal counsel Suzana Atan for the attorney-general agreed that stay should not be allowed because there were no respondents – governor, Shafie and state government.
The bench ruled against granting an oral stay but ordered the appellants to file a formal application with the apex court.
On July 29, Shafie submitted a letter requesting Juhar to dissolve the legislature due to political instability and the next day the Juhar agreed that an election be held.
But Musa and the 32 maintained that they could form the next government due to having 33 of the 65 seats.