The Malay Mail has reported:
The Court of Appeal here has rejected former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman’s appeal against the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging the legality of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s appointment as his successor.
Musa’s lawyer, Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, said a three-judge panel agreed with a preliminary objection that the matter was now “academic”.
Shafie’s lawyer, Datuk Douglas Lind, earlier argued that the challenge was no longer relevant as Shafie now commanded the confidence of an indisputable majority in the state assembly, with over two thirds of its lawmakers pledged to him.
He said Musa could, at best, muster the support of eight out of the assembly’s 55 lawmakers and could not conceivably succeed in securing a vote of no-confidence in Shafie.
Elaborating, the New Straits Times reported:
During the submissions on PO(preliminary objection) , Douglas said the appellant’s appeal was not competent because it has now become academic.
He said the outcome of the appeal will have no effect at all on the positions or interests of either Musa or Shafie, adding that such situation is due to the current support garnered by the duo respectively in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly.
Based on the support as shown in a lists attached to a letter dated Oct 3, 2019, from the state assembly secretary, Douglas noted Musa, at best, can only garner the support of all eight opposition members, including himself.
Shafie, on the other hand, has the support of 52 assemblymen and therefore has the support of more than two-thirds of the members in the State Legislative Assembly.
“Even if the appellant succeeds with his appeal, the status quo remains and the second respondent will continue to be the Chief Minister as having such a large number of assemblymen supporting him. The second respondent’s position is unshakeable and remains unassailable.
“The appeal has clearly become academic and purely exercise in futile and serves no purpose at all. The appeal is therefore not competent, and it is urged that the court will not proceed but dismiss the appeal,” (sic) stressed Douglas.
This is an interesting turn of events for at first instance, in the High Court, Justice Yew Jen Kie said Musa’s legal challenge against Shafie Apdal was not academic as it was a case of public interest.
The Court Of Appeal appears to have now determined that such challenges are in fact academic.
This has decision of the Court of Appeal renders the conclusion in the article below by this writer incorrect. A challenger to a Menteri Besar, or Prime Minister, can now depose the incumbent with a collection of statutory declarations or some form of letter suggesting that he has the confidence of the majority, and can be assured that the Courts will not entertain any form of legal challenge to his or her appointment.
Anwar Ibrahim is likely to be counting heads with renewed urgency.