17 JUNE 2017
PKR welcomes the ruling today by the Kuching High Court that the dismissal of Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut assembly was unlawful and reinstating him as State assemblyman.
It is comforting for all who value democracy and justice that the judge, Datuk Douglas Christo Primus Sikayun, made a clear and strong ruling on the law, ie that the Dewan has no express powers to deal with an election result. Obviously, if the dismissal had been allowed to remain, in the Malaysian context, an assemblyman or a parliamentarian in the minority would have no chance of seeing justice served in such a politically motivated scenario. Members of the ruling BN had taken on the role of prosecutor and judge, without any intention of allowing the accused sufficient opportunity to defend himself. The judge commented rightly that the rule of natural justice had not been complied with and adhered to.
This ruling serves as a timely reminder, or perhaps a long overdue one, to the BN-led government of the doctrine of the separation of powers of the three organs of government. In this case, the speaker had taken on judicial powers to which he had no right, as pointed out by the judge.
Recalling that the chain of events emanated from a Ministerial motion by Wong Soon Koh and not a private member’s motion, this points to the Sarawak government as the initiator of the motion for the dismissal of Dr Ting. The State government’s legal advisors should have advised against the motion, if they had applied their minds to the legal implications. It appears that the august house had been used as a political arena, and now with this decision, one could say that the Executive, ie the State government, has also been put in its place by the Judiciary, besides the Legislative.
This whole episode has served to tarnish the image of the Sarawak Government and the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak. The 3 organs of government owe a duty to the people they serve to behave with integrity and fairness. Clearly, it has been shown that 2 of these organs have failed in their duties to the people by indulging in political manoeuverings that could be construed as an exercise in the abuse of power. The parties involved should take this as a lesson learnt.
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak