Archive for October 29, 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In fact, the correct interpretation of Article 6(7) eliminates and/or reduces party hopping as also intended by the repealed Article 18(2) (d).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