At a press conference today, leaders of Gabungan Sabah pointed out that it is unconstitutional to have an election of the Sabah Legislative Assembly with only 60 members instead of 73 members.
This is because the amendment to the Article 14(2) of the Sabah constitution in 2016 has been approved by the Assembly, assented to by the TYT and gazetted by the government. It is now solid law that the next Sabah Assembly shall have 73 members.
On 28 July 2016, the Sabah government gazette (Warta Kerajaan) announced the bill to amend the Sabah constitution (Rang Undang-undang Perlembagaan Negeris Sabah (Pindaan) 2016) to increase the membership of the Assembly from 60 to 73.
On 9 August 2016, the Sabah Legislative Assembly passed the bill. The bill was introduced by the Minister in the CM Department. After debates, the bill was passed by 55 for, 3 against, 1 abstained and 1 absent; which was more than the 2/3 majority needed for amendments to the constitution.
At the subsequent Assembly sitting on 21 November 2016, the Assembly Speaker informed the Assembly that the Head of State (TYT) had assented to the amendment to the constitution.
According to the Warta Kerajaan (Gazette), the TYT had assented to the amendment to the constitution on 17 August 2016.
In view of the above facts and legal reality, the coming elections to the Sabah Legislative Assembly must elect 73 members. Failure to do so will result in a constitutional crisis because the Constitution stipulates that there shall be 73 members whereas only 60 members were elected.
As for the 73 state constituencies to be represented by the 73 members, the Election Commission has already conducted the redelineation process in 2016 and 2017, published the proposed constituencies and boundaries and conducted public hearings. Much efforts and costs have been incurred. The only thing that remains is for the report on the Sabah electoral redelineation to be tabled to Parliament.
Therefore, Gabungan Sabah demands that the UMNO-led BN Sabah government respects and complies with the Sabah Constitution. As the Election Commission has announced earlier that the tabling of the Sabah boundary redelineation, can be done separately from that of Malaya, there is absolutely no excuse for the Umno-led BN federal government not to table the Sabah electoral boundary redelineation to parliament.
As Parliament will reconvene on March 5, Sabahans expect that the federal and Sabah governments respect and comply with the Sabah constitution and promptly do the necessary, that is, to the present to Parliament the Sabah electoral redelineation for approval.
Failure to do so proves that this UMNO-led BN government insults the Sabah Legislative Assembly, disrespects the Sabah constitution and has made a fool of Sabahans. It shows the collapse of government by constitution. It means a loss of confidence in the Chief Minister and his cabinet.
If, as reported, the Umno-led BN Sabah government tries to repeal the 2016 constitutional amendment by re-amending the constitution to revert to 60 seats in the coming assembly sitting, then this proves that UMNO-BN is making a big fool of Sabahans, mocking the legislative assembly and disrespecting the TYT. In this case, Gabungan Sabah will organise mass protests at the Legislative Assembly to show the people’s disgust at such abuse of power by the Umno-led BN government.
Present at the Press conference:
- Datuk Dr. Jeffery Kitingan, President Parti STAR/ADUN Bingkor;
- Datuk Yong Teck Lee, President SAPP;
- Dato Mohd. Arshad Bin Abdul Mualap, President, Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS);
- Tuan Ashim Jamat, Deputy President, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah; and
- Other leaders of Gabungan Sabah