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DAP rep fails to strike out state assembly’s appeal

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has dismissed Dr Ting Tiong Choon’s application to strike out an appeal by Sarawak State Legislative Assembly against a High Court ruling to retain him as Pujut (DAP) assemblyman.
“Our considered view, on the facts and circumstances of the case, the appeal lodged by the state Attorney-General (A-G) on behalf of the state assembly is competent,” said Justice Datuk Rohana Yusuf, who chaired a three-man panel, yesterday.
Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Suraya Othman were the other two judges.
The court registrar set Oct 26 for hearing of the Sarawak state assembly's appeal in Kuching.
The same panel also dismissed Dr Ting’s application to strike out the notice of appeal filed by Sarawak State Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar.
Later outside the court, counsel Chong Siew Chiang, from Dr Ting’s legal team said: “We will seek his instructions on whether to bring the matter to the Federal Court”.
In court earlier, Dr Ting’s counsel Tan Kee Heng argued the notice of appeal lodged by the state A-G on behalf of the state assembly was defective: “He did not have the autho­rity to file the appeal, to act and make a decision for the state assembly.
“The state assembly secretary’s instruction to the Sarawak state A-G to file the appeal was unauthorised and ineffective in law,” said counsel.
Tan said it was for the 82 elected assemblyman to decide whether the state assembly should file the appeal “but the state assembly did not sit to hear and debate on the High Court's findings and to decide whether to appeal.
“The state assembly and the state A-G are separate entities as the Attorney-General is a member of the executive and could not represent the legislative arm of the government,” he argued.
Sarawak Deputy A-G Saferi Ali countered that the state assembly had the right to file the notice of appeal as it was adversely affected by the High Court's decision.
Saferi said the state A-G who was duty bound to safeguard the interest of the House, must step in to defend the state assembly.
On May 12, the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly decided on a majority vote to disqualify Dr Ting, 52, as Pujut assemblyman for having dual citizenship in Australia and Malaysia.
Dr Ting, 52, subsequently filed an originating summons to challenge his disqualification.
On June 17 this year, the Kuching High Court ruled in his favour and reinstated him as the assemblyman for the Pujut constituency.
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