Sun, 23 Jun 2024



AG’s dismissal for Cabinet: Ex-Dewan Speaker Pandikar says State Secretary must also be held accountable
Published on: Tuesday, May 21, 2024
By: Ricardo Unto, Nikko Fabian
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AG’s dismissal for Cabinet: Ex-Dewan Speaker Pandikar says State Secretary must also be held accountable
Jeffrey and Pandikar
Kota Kinabalu: The State Government will look into calls from various segments for the State Attorney-General’s dismissal, following the fiasco surrounding the State’s 40 per cent constitutional entitlement on tax revenue.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the matter would be discussed by the State Cabinet.

“We have taken note of the suggestions from several parties (for dismissal) and you have to wait for the outcome,” he said, after an exclusive preview of the Petronas Kaamatan short film, Monday.

“There have indeed been discussions by government leaders and party presidents within the Government (regarding this issue) on the morning of May 17.”

Several quarters, including political party leaders, urged for such action and also commented on counsel Tengku Datuk Ahmad Fuad Tengku Ahmad Burhanuddin’s controversial remarks regarding the case.

Fuad had claimed that Article 112C of the Federal Constitution was not a mandatory or absolute right but an aspirational one.

Fuad said this when he appeared as an intervener at the last minute representing the Sabah Government in the Federal Attorney-General of Malaysia’s appeal against the leave granted to Sabah Law Society (SLS) regarding the special grant.

The court also questioned the right of Fuad to intervene on the matter at the last minute and whether he could prove it. 

To which he responded that he did not have it with him at the material time but that he had been acting for the State in the past. Despite this, the court still proceeded to hear his arguments.

Article 112C of the Federal Constitution is on the special grants and assignments of revenue to the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

Following an uproar in social media over Fuad’s remarks and the State AG’s yet unexplained absence at the crucial hearing, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the 40 per cent entitlement is a State right negotiated before Malaysia’s formation and enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

He stressed that it is very much more than an aspiration and hoped this would be reflected in the outcome of the case. 

He also assured that the State Government would not stop pursuing all State rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution.

On Sunday, State Attorney-General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof reiterated the Chamber’s steadfast dedication to safeguarding Sabah’s constitutional rights.

She also said the Chambers would take necessary measures to correct any misguided statement that deviates from the State’s clear and formal position.  

The SLS filed a judicial review against the Federal Government’s failure to review the 40 per cent special grant due to Sabah under the Federal Constitution. SLS obtained leave on June 8, 2022.

The SLS filed the leave application on June 9, 2022, naming the Federal and State governments as the first and second respondents, respectively.

However, the Federal Attorney-General appealed against the High Court’s decision on Nov 11, 2022, to grant leave to SLS.

On May 16, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on the Federal Attorney-General’s appeal.

Court of Appeal Justices Datuk Ravinthran N Paramaguru, Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali and Datuk Dr Choo Kah Sing adjourned their decision after hearing oral submissions from all parties.

The court set May 24 for case management. 

Meanwhile, former Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia called on Hajiji Noor to carry out a major reshuffle of the State’s administration.

The Usno President said action must start from the State Secretary’s office all the way down to District Offices.

This, he said, was to restore the rakyat’s confidence after the SLS vs Federal Government of Malaysia fiasco.

“I was shocked to learn that State Legal Advisor Datuk Tengku Fuad was actually appointed by letter from the State Attorney’s Office on 8th June 2022 as a lawyer representing the Sabah state government in the case.

“The Chief Minister’s explanation to the presidents of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) component parties on 17 May 2024 in Sri Gaya, as far as he knew, Fuad had no appointment from the state government.

"This is regardless of State Attorney General Datuk Nor Aisah Mohd Yusof’s statement published in the Daily Express on Monday to correct any ‘misguided statements’ related to the ‘blunder’ Fuad made during the hearing.

“She said Fuad attacked the SLS on grounds that they were without locus standi and being busybodies, is a statement that should be thrown in the trash, as it is embarrassing coming from the Attorney General of Sabah.

“The State Attorney General’s actions did not reflect a serious attitude towards a case that is very important for the people of Sabah, where during the trial day she was abroad. 

“There were not even other officials from the State Attorney’s Department present to accompany Fuad in court.

 “This is an action that I describe as betraying the aspirations of the people of Sabah who expect that the state government, through its lawyers on the day of the hearing, cooperate against the attorney general representing the federal government. 

“But what happened was the opposite,” he said in a statement.

Pandikar said for such reasons, the controversy is caused by negligence on the part of the responsible parties concerned with this case, especially the State Attorney General.

“I am also of the opinion that State Secretary, Datuk Saffar Untung, should also be held accountable in line with the character that he has displayed so far that he is a ‘hands-on’ State Secretary where all matters of government administration ran through him,” he added.

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