No Pujut By-Election Following Dr Ting’s Disqualification 

DR TING TIONG CHOON

KUCHING: There will be no by-election following the decision by the Federal Court to disqualify Dr Ting Tiong Choon as the Pujut assemblyman today, Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker, Datuk Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar said. 

He said there was no necessity for him as the House Speaker to write to the Election Commission to notify about the vacant seat following the ruling, by virtue of Article 21(5) of the Sarawak State Constitution.

The Article, among others, states that if a casual vacancy is established on a date within two years of the date the State Legislative Assembly shall stand dissolved, such casual vacancy shall not be filled, unless the Speaker notifies the Election Commission in writing that the numerical strength of the party that constitutes the majority of all members of the State Legislative Assembly is being affected by such vacancy.

“The need for the Speaker to write to the Election Commission does not arise and without such notification, (there will be) no by-election,” he told a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly building, here.

A nine-panel judge of the Federal Court today ruled that the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly was right in disqualifying Dr Ting as the assemblyman for Pujut over his dual citizenship status.

It overturned the Court of Appeal ruling in a 7-2 majority decision and cited Article 19 of the Sarawak Constitution and Article 72 (1) of the Federal Constitution which state, respectively, that the assembly has the final say in such a matter and that the assembly proceedings cannot be questioned in any court.

Mohamad Asfia said the issue argued in the case was not a question of politics but a question of patriotism, which reflected the stand that whoever had acquired the citizenship of a foreign country and became an integral part of that country should not be allowed to represent the electorate in Malaysia and sit in its highest law-making legislature.