Sabah case: Absolute discretion by heads of state the main argument

Written by TheMole

PUTRAJAYA — Sept. 7, 2020: A lawyer has argued that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and other constitutional heads of the states in the country have absolute discretion to dissolve their legislatures.

It is also the contention of Datuk Cyrus Das, representing Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and the Sabah government, that this discretion cannot be challenged in court under any circumstances.

This is because all the state constitutions are modelled after the federal Constitution, with Article (10 ) (2) (b) of the Sabah constitution similar to Article 40 (2) of the former.

Das further pointed out that never in the country’s history has the Agong’s discretion to dissolve Parliament been challenged in court as it is non-justiciable. The lawyer was submitting before a Court of Appeal bench chaired by Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil. Others on the panel are Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Supang Lian.

Article 40 (2) states that the king has absolute discretion in appointing the prime minister and to withhold consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament.

Sabah Attorney-General Brenndon Keith Soo, representing Juhar, also spoke about the state Constitution, referring to Article 21 (2), adding that the dissolution, as requested by Shafie, was allowed to return the mandate to the people.

Former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and 32 other assemblymen are appealing against the dismissal of their leave for judicial review by the High Court on August 21, following the consent by Governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to dissolve the state assembly.

Lawyer Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin for Musa and the rest said Shafie had no right to advise or request the governor to dissolve the assembly simply because he had lost the majority support of the 65 assemblymen after Musa had submitted statutory declarations confirming majority support for him.

Das will continue with his submission tomorrow.



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