Archive for November 8, 2018


LETTER TO THE EDITOR

A High Court of Borneo ruling on Nov 7, on lawful Chief Minister, does not sit well with the people, in the court of public opinion.

Where two sides are equally matched, and end up with almost the same number of elected seats, with a third party holding some seats, it seems a handful of “frogs” (buhangkut) from one of the two major sides could decide who forms the gov’t.

It appears okay not to be gentlemen, not to subscribe to conventions based on civilised norms viz. honourable conduct, decency, good behaviour, and pride as lawmakers.

It cannot be the intention of voters to diminish the role of the state assembly, enhance the role of the Governor and allow frogs to dictate the formation of gov’t.

Gov’t, democratically elected and lawfully sworn in, must be allowed to prevail even if it means being reduced to minority gov’t status for a while.

The state assembly will find resolution when gov’t Bills are presented.

Judge Yew Jen Kie, in one fell swoop on Wed 7 Nov, brought the unelected Sabah head of state into the picture and “overturned” the Doctrine of Separation of Powers.

She virtually “emasculated” the state assembly, the right forum to decide on the fate of the head of gov’t. Obviously, she does not see that as interfering in the role of the state assembly, its prerogative and discretionary powers, and its proceedings.

She decided the Chief Minister’s fate could be decided by the Governor on a “subjective” basis, acting in concert with a handful of frogs, who she even implied were a despicable lot.

I have been saying there’s no such thing as motion of confidence or no confidence.

Having said that, gov’t Bills can be the test of confidence or otherwise.

The judge is wrong in implying that Statutory Declarations (SD) can also be the test of confidence or no confidence. This is a recipe for continued political instability.

In that case, Musa Aman should get SDs from 12 frogs and with his 19 Adun, see the Governor.

If the Governor’s intervention was not accepted, the court will come in to seal the Chief Minister’s fate and deliver the coup de grace at the High Court, and for good measure at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court. So, he gets clobbered three times to bury him for good.

So much for rule of law, the basis of the Constitution!

The absence of any comment from the court on why Nov 7 happened and how it could have been avoided compounds the mystery.

If the Governor had advised the frogs on May 12 to go to the state assembly for a resolution beyond dispute, 7-11 would not have happened. Instead, it was okay with the judge to “put the cart before the horse”.

Strangely, the court referred to the six defections which took place within hours of the Barisan Nasional (BN)-Star coalition gov’t being formed on May 10. It should have put on blinkers.

Having touched on frogging, the court never wondered why such defections should take place from the gov’t to the Opposition.

Anyone in his right mind would not defect from the gov’t to the Opposition.

The court can’t be party to an “illegality” i.e. defections after expressing disapproval of the practice.

The judge’s comment that the court cannot do anything about frogging and leaves the matter to Parliament opens Pandora’s box.

The Sabah Constitution cannot be about rewarding frogs. Hence, the criteria on who can be Chief Minister, unique for a Constitution.

By simplistic recognition of an unregistered coalition of parties, where no one meets the criteria to be Chief Minister, the court is not discouraging frogging.

The Doctrine of Separation of Powers holds that the legislature, executive and legislature are the three and equal branches of gov’t.

Each acts as part of the checks and balances, staying clear of interfering in the prerogative and discretionary powers of the others, not interfering in their proceedings.

Daniel John Jambun

Human Rights Advocate

Tel: 010 878 6993

President

Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo)

Thurs 8 Nov 2018

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo-Malaysia