KOTA KINABALU, April 2, 2018: Opposition Gabungan Sabah leaders led by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee is seeking a court declaration that the Prime Minister is bound by the Federal Constitution to table an Election Commission (EC) report on the 13 additional State Assembly seats in Parliament as soon as possible.
Yong was among the seven plaintiffs in the the Originating Summons filed at the Kota Kinabalu High Court on Monday (2 April 2018).
Named as defendants in the legal action was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the EC.
Other plaintiffs in the Originating Summons include SAPP vice president Datuk Shuaib bin Dato Mutalib, Gabungan Sabah secretary Edward Dagul and SAPP EC Matters Committee chairman Japiril Suhaimin.
Also named as plaintiffs were Parti Solidariti Tanah Air deputy president Edward Linggu, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah youth chief Jovilis Majami and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah executive secretary Anesthicia binti Usun.
In their Originating Summons filed by lawyer Datuk Maijol Mahap, Yong Jit Jee and Benazir Japiril Bandaran, the group sought the Court’s declaration that the Prime Minister was compelled by the Constitution to table the EC report on the 13 addition Sabah State Constituencies in Parliament in time for the upcoming general election.
Yong, the former chief minister, told the media at the court that a Federal Government Gazette dated 21 Feb 2017 showed that the Election Commission report on the 13 additional State Constituencies for Sabah had been submitted to the Prime Minister on that date.
“We are thus seeking a court declaration that Prime Minister was Constitutionally bound to table the EC report to Parliament as soon as may be after the EC submitted its report to him,” he said.
Yong, a lawyer, said they were also seeking the Court’s declaration that Constitution did not provide any discretionary power to the Prime Minister not to table the EC report in Parliament.
He said they also sought the Court’s declaration that the decision to approve or reject the EC report was entirely up to Dewan Rakyat and not the Prime Minister.
“We are also seeking a mandamus order from the Court to compel the Prime Minister to carry out his constitutional duty to table the EC report to the Dewan Rakyat,” Yong added.
“There have been more than sufficient opportunities over the past year for the Prime Minister table the EC report to Parliament over the past year,” he said.
Yong said if the Prime Minister failed to table the EC report on the 13 new Sabah seats in Parliament before its expected dissolution within a matter of weeks, it was a reflection of the ruling Barisan Nasional disrespect for the State Constitution disregard for State Assembly and and an insult to the Sabah people.
“The election of only 60 members, instead of 73 as provided for in the State Constitution, also casts doubts on the legality of the upcoming polls,” he added.
However Yong clarified that their legal action was not aimed at seeking the Court’s declaration for coming elections in Sabah as invalid.
“We are only seek the Court’s declaration that the Prime Minister has to table the EC report on the review of the Sabah constituencies in Parliament as soon as possible,” he said.
“We cannot leave such an important issue unresolved for now and the future,” Yong added.
Yong said the group had prepared to initiate their legal action on March 19 but the Penang government filed a judicial review of the EC’s redelineation report for the states in Peninsula Malaysia and the issue of subjudice was raised to stop Parliament from debating the report.
“We deferred our action until Thursday when it became clear that Parliament would not be stopped by the rules of subjudice,” he said. We did not want Parliament to use our court case, if it had been filed earlier, as an excuse to delay the tabling of the EC report on Sabah,” Yong explained.