SARAWAK DAP TO DEFEND PUJUK BY-ELECTION BUT WILL SUE STATE ASSEMBLY, SPEAKER FOR ‘PLAYING GOD’

KUCHING— Sarawak DAP said today it would sue the Sarawak state legislative assembly and the Speaker among others over the passage of a motion to strip one of its assemblymen of his office.H

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the party has assembled a team of lawyers, led by senior lawyer Chong Siew Chiang, to represent Dr Ting Tiong Choon from Pujut.

He said the party will accept voluntary legal experts to help in the legal case.

“We will file a writs of summons against them within a month,” the Kota Sentosa state lawmaker told reporters after chairing an emergency meeting of the liaison committee.

Dr Ting was stripped of his membership after 70 state Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers supported the motion tabled by International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, while 10 from the Opposition rejected it.

In his motion, Wong, who is also Bawang Assan assemblyman, claimed that Dr Ting had breached Article 17(1)(g) of the State Constitution when he acquired an Australian citizenship, exercised his right to register as an Australian voter and pledged allegiance to a country outside the federation of Malaysia.

Therefore, he claimed Dr Ting was not a fit and proper person to be the state lawmaker for Pujut.

Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament, said stripping Dr Ting of his membership of the state assembly was an assault on the fundamental democratic principle upon which the country was founded.

“It is not just the case involving Dr Ting and all the party’s elected representatives, but also against the basic fundamental structure of the State Constitution,” he said.

WHO ARE YOU TO PLAY GOD

Chong accused the BN state government of trying to play God.

“It is the legislator, prosecutor, judge and executioner — all in one,” he said, explaining the rationale for taking action against the state assembly, the house Speaker and other relevant parties in an effort to defend the State Constitution.

He said Dr Ting was “politically persecuted because he belongs to the other party”.

He believed that the decision to strip Dr Ting of his membership will lead to a “dangerous precedent”, in which the ruling party can interpret the constitution in whatever ways it likes to suit its purpose to “oppress and suppress the minority Opposition”.

He claimed that the house Speaker Datuk Amar Asfia Awang Nasar should not have interpreted Article 17(1)(g) in a way that favoured BN.

He said that it was against the rule of natural justice.

Chong said the party will field its candidate in the event that the Election Commission decides to hold a by-election in Pujut.

“We will certainly contest as we don’t believe in boycotting the by-election,” he said.

MALAY MAIL

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