Sarawak Election 2016. Pix. DAP Senadin

Pujut 8,889 voters won Sarawak Legislative Assembly lost. The hasty removal of Pujut Assemblyman by the Sarawak Legislative Assembly last May backfired.

“There is no vacancy for Pujut seat,” Kuching High Court Judge rules and awarded RM100,000 to plaintiff Dr Ting Chiong Choon, Pujut State Assemblyman.

Judge Datuk Douglas Christo Primus Sikayun said “the Speaker had taken on the role as prosecutor and the Speaker,” a role that is not accurately stated in the Federal Constitution – in particular, Article 23(1) and 24(1).

He added the Dewan (State Assembly) is not a competent body to decide constitutional issues, and that the Speaker had not afforded Dr Ting adequate time and opportunity to defend himself.

The “8,889 Pujut voters’ interest should also be taken into consideration,” the Judge rules.

The ruling means that there would not be a by-election, although the Election Commission is expected to hold a meeting on the matter.

The Pujut state seat fell vacant when its incumbent Dr Ting of DAP was ejected by the Sarawak legislative assembly on May 12 for having dual citizenship in Australia and Malaysia.

Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh

A motion by International Trade and E-Commerce Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh to disqualify Dr Ting was passed with a 70 to 10 vote on Friday, May 12, led to Dr Ting ceasing to be a state assemblyman with immediate effect.

Wong said he was informed by Bukit Aman in a letter that Dr Ting acquired Australian citizenship on Jan 20, 2010 but renounced it on April 4, 2016.

In addition, he said Dr Ting had exercised the rights of an Australian citizen by registering as a voter with the Australian Election Commission.

He also claimed that Dr Ting had made a declaration of allegiance to Australia at the time he acquired citizenship.

As such, Wong said Dr Ting had breached Article 17(1)(g) of the state constitution, which provides that a person is disqualified from being a member of the state assembly if he has voluntarily acquired citizenship or exercised rights of citizenship in any other country.

The reinstatement of Dr Ting will definitely jolt BN and shows the Judiciary disagrees with what Sarawak Legislative Assembly is doing.

Elated and relieved DAP’s Pujut Assemblyman in center in red shirt outside Kuching High Court. (Pix. DAP Sarawak)