Archive for October, 2018


Shafie Apdal should respect ‘majority’ defined in Sabah Constitution

Beleaguered Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and his lawyers have been a bundle of contradictions in the court of public opinion on the issue of majority in the state assembly.

Briefly, they can be answered in simple terms:

Lawyer Douglas Lind for Shafie has been harping since the oral submission on Thurs 25 Oct 2018 that his client has the numbers with him.

He doesn’t talk about the majority defined in the Constitution.

Article 6(3) read together with Article 6(7) gives effect to the true meaning of majority in Article 6(3).

Numbers, according to Douglas, means Warisan 21 + Upko 5 + DAP 6 + PKR 2 = 34.

After May 12, the numbers were 34 + Umno 7= 41.

Had the Upko 5 joined Warisan as members before May 12, then Shafie would have had the majority as defined by the Sabah Constitution.

We assume the High Court would let the frogging by the Upko 5 to pass.

In fact, the correct interpretation of Article 6(7) eliminates and/or reduces party hopping as also intended by the repealed Article 18(2) (d).

The Sabah Constitution, in defining majority, talks about numbers under one symbol i.e. a registered political party, not coalition of parties.

The Umno 7 defected after May 12. Even if they have since joined Warisan, it cannot be counted.

On May 12, Shafie had only 21 lawmakers.

Musa Aman had 23 lawmakers with him. So, he had the majority i.e. more seats than Warisan and the largest number of seats.

Again, the definition of majority in the Sabah Constitution refers.

Musa just has to get the support of another 8 lawmakers to pass Bills in the state assembly or defeat any motion of no confidence.

Since Barisan Nasional (BN) is now down to 19, Musa has to get the support of another 12 lawmakers to pass Bills or defeat any motion of no confidence.

In any case, the Speaker can throw out any motion of no confidence.

Hopefully, the state assembly would not be dissolved before Nov 7. We just had GE14.

Article 6(7), inserted in 1990 by Enactment No. 5/1990, did not use the term absolute majority, in recognising that when more than two parties contest, none will secure an absolute majority in the state assembly.

Article 6(7) is a unique feature of the Sabah Constitution, and one absent in other state constitutions including Perak.

Majority, as per Article 6 (3), if read to mean 31 state assemblypersons out of 60, would be a grave constitutional error, as lawyer Sukumaran Vanugopal cautioned in the High Court on Thurs 25 Oct 2018.

Daniel John Jambun

Human Rights Advocate

Tel: 010 878 6993


Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo)

Sun 28 Oct 2018

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo-Malaysia

The killing by Saudi agents of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has focused the world’s attention on the kingdom’s intimidation campaign against influential voices raising questions about the darker side of the crown prince. The young royal has tightened his grip on the kingdom while presenting himself in Western capitals as the man to reform the hidebound Saudi state.Each morning, Jamal Khashoggi would check his phone to discover what fresh hell had been unleashed while he was sleeping.

Khashoggi’s online attackers were part of a broad effort dictated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his close advisers to silence critics both inside Saudi Arabia and abroad. Hundreds of people work at a so-called troll farm in Riyadh to smother the voices of dissidents like Khashoggi. The vigorous push also appears to include the grooming — not previously reported — of a Saudi employee at Twitter whom Western intelligence officials suspected of spying on user accounts to help the Saudi leadership.

Many Saudis had hoped that Twitter would democratize discourse by giving everyday citizens a voice, but Saudi Arabia has instead become an illustration of how authoritarian governments can manipulate social media to silence or drown out critical voices while spreading their own version of reality.

Instead the Saudis infiltrated Twitter and its agent helped getting them access to accounts of dissidents. Twitter executives first became aware of a possible plot to infiltrate user accounts at the end of 2015, when Western intelligence officials told them that the Saudis were grooming an employee, Ali Alzabarah, to spy on the accounts of dissidents and others, according to five people briefed on the matter. Alzabarah returned to Saudi Arabia shortly after, taking few possessions with him. He now works with the Saudi government


The kingdom silences dissent online by sending operatives to swarm critics.…

Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance has opened a rift between Washington and Saudi Arabia, the chief Arab ally of the Trump administration. And it has badly damaged the reputation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old power behind the Saudi throne, who this time may have gone too far for even for his staunchest supporters in the West.

The possibility that the young prince ordered a hit on a dissident poses challenges for President Trump and may turn once warm relationships toxic. It could convince those governments and corporations that had overlooked the prince’s destructive military campaign in Yemen, his kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister and his waves of arrests that he is a ruthless autocrat who will stop at nothing to get his enemies.




But international outrage mounted as Turkish officials leaked lurid details from their own investigation suggesting that he was murdered inside the consulate and dismembered by a team of 15 Saudi agents who flew in specifically to kill him.

The case has battered the international reputation of the kingdom and its 33-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has sought to sell himself to the world as a young reformer shaking off his country’s conservative past. But suspicions that such a complicated foreign operation could not have been launched without at least his tacit approval have driven away many of his staunchest foreign supporters.

Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Eighteen Saudi men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them.

State media also reported that Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to the crown prince, had been dismissed, along with Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials. They did not say whether the men’s firing had a connection to the Khashoggi case or whether they were being investigated for playing a role in it.

Saudi rulers are weighing whether to blame Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince, for the death of the journalist Jamal…


Its been going on for three years now. Saudi Arabia, the richest and most well armed nation in the region, and backed by the USA and Israel, has been raining havoc on Yemen, the poorest and most distressed of middle eastern nations. Yemen is backed by Iran. it is war with no winners but the western arms companies.

“The war in Yemen drags on, but there are actually some winners. In terms of human costs, the Yemen war is a picture of unmitigated loss: millions of Yemenis facing starvation; over 17,000 killed or wounded; an infrastructure in ruins, with hospitals, clinics, schools, factories, homes, and even universities bombed; indiscriminate aerial attacks and artillery shelling of civilians, exposing commanders of warring parties to criminal liability; and Saudi Arabia’s global reputation—despite an army of public relations firms working feverishly on its behalf—in tatters.

However, the Yemen war has been a huge financial boon for American and British defense contractors (and their shareholders). Raytheon, General Dynamics, and BAE Systems are awash in tens of billions of dollars from arms sales to their rich clients, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They astutely spend a fraction of their profits to lobby their own governments to approve these sales, despite the overwhelming evidence of repeated misuse of these weapons in unlawful attacks that should lead to a ban on such activity. Fear of lost arms sales is today America’s pathetic basis for certifying that the Saudi-led coalition is “working to minimize civilian casualties.””