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'Second swearing-in could jeopardise positions of 39'
Published on: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The second swearing-in of the 19 assemblymen aligned with Tan Sri Musa Aman may have put the other 39 assemblymen aligned with Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal into a tight spot and could jeopardise their positions in the Assembly.

A lawyer, Henry Gudid, said in a statement that the Sabah Constitution only requires the swearing-in to be done before the Speaker and there is no requirement that the swearing-in must be before the Yang DiPertua Negeri or in the presence of a Chief Minister, even if there is one.

"I had earlier stated that the validity of the purported Special Sitting of the Assembly on June 11 was doubtful and otherwise proved that Musa was the lawful Chief Minister, (and I had also) said that the second swearing-in was properly done before the Speaker as required under the Sabah Constitution.

"Unlike the second swearing-in, the first swearing-in of the other 39 assemblymen in the Special Sitting would face being declared null and void should Musa win his case and the court declares him to be the lawful Chief Minister," he said.

Such a declaration, said Gudid, would render Shafie to be the unlawful Chief Minister and all actions taken after his purported appointment rendered unlawful and null and void.

"In such an event, the 39 assemblymen run the risk of losing their seats if they do not properly take their oaths as assemblymen in accordance with the time frame provided in Article 22(2) of the Sabah Constitution.

"Article 22(2) states that an assemblyman is required to take his seat, meaning take his oath, within three months from the date on which the Assembly first sits after their election, or within such further period as the Assembly may allow, failing which his seat shall become vacant," he said.

If so, by-elections, he said, would have to be called for the 39 seats held by the assemblymen who took their improper oaths on June 11.

Gudid added that it would be interesting to watch how events will turn out given that Musa's court action is still pending and the validity of the Special Sitting still to be decided.

Shafie had said on Sunday that the swearing-in of 19 assemblymen aligned with Musa was improper as the Governor was kept in the dark.

"It's not that they couldn't be sworn in. But there are proper procedures.

They can't just go there and immediately ask to be sworn in. It must be notified and it must be known.

(They could not just do it) because the Speaker was present," he was quoted saying.

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