KOTA KINABALU, April 20, 2018: The High Court here was told that the Prime Minister was constitutionally required to table in Parliament an Election Commission report on the 13 new Sabah state constituencies soon after receiving it in February last year.
Counsel Yong Yit Jee said this was stipulated in Section 9 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
Yong said that provision stipulated that the Prime Minister was required to table in Parliament the EC report “as soon as it may be” after receiving it in February 2017.
He said this in his arguments before High Court judge Justice Azhahari Kamal Ramli in a hearing on the originating summons seeking a court order to compel the Prime Minister to table the EC report in Parliament.
The summons was filed by a group of local opposition pact Gabungan Sabah (GS) leaders on April 2 in which the Prime Minister and the EC were respectively named as first and second respondents.
Yong representing the GS leaders with fellow lawyer Banazir Japiril also argued that the matter was not academic exercise as the next Prime Minister after the 14th general election was still bound by this constitutional provision.
He also said that while Parliament had been dissolved to pave the way for the general election, the three branches of government – the legislature, executive and judiciary – existed in perpetuity.
Earlier in his arguments at the hearing in Chambers, Senior Federal Counsel Andi Razalijaya A Dadi said the intent of the GS leaders’ summons was purely academic as Parliament had been dissolved.
He also argued that the group did not have the locus standi to raise such as matter as it should have instead been in the hands of the Attorney General.
Andi also argued that the Order of Mandamus sought by the group to compel the Prime Minister to table the EC report was also misconceived in law.
Named as plaintiffs in GS’ legal action was Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Datuk Yong Teck Lee, party 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.
When met outside the Court later, Teck Lee told the media that the GS leaders believe they had a strong case.
“Our facts are not disputed by the government lawyers. There is no affidavit in opposition to our affidavit,” he said.
Teck Lee also stressed that their legal action was not to prevent the coming election from taking place.
“The case to prevent the Sabah state election from going ahead was filed by another party, PCS. It is because of the timing that the court has decided to hear both cases together,” he said.
Earlier, Teck Lee and some GS leaders were involved in a brief stand off when security guards and police officers barred them from entering the Court complex.
Teck Lee who arrived at the Court at about 9.25am demanded under whose order were they barred from entering the complex which he said was a public area.
After a 20 minute standoff and arguments, a court official spoke to Teck Lee and they were allowed to go into the complex.
Asked about this standoff, Yong said that Sabahans must stand up for their rights and insist on exercising their rights. Don’t give up. Eventually, we will win, said Yong.