Shafie Apdal insists Sabah dissolution was by the book

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal speaks during a joint interview in Kuala Lumpur July 14, 2020. — Reuters pic
Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal speaks during a joint interview in Kuala Lumpur July 14, 2020. — Reuters pic

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KOTA KINABALU, Aug 3 — The dissolution of the Sabah state assembly was carried out according to existing laws and the state’s constitution, said caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

The Parti Warisan Sabah chief said that he was within his rights to seek a dissolution of the assembly in the face of external threats to destabilise his administration while it was the Tuan Yang Terutama’s absolute discretion to consent to this.

“We were facing a lot of pressure, especially from KL. We didn’t want it to continue which would prevent us from attracting investors because it was even on the front page of Singapore’s The Straits Times.

“That’s why we asked the TYT for dissolution and he has absolute power in deciding.  We went through the process. As the chief minister, I can only advise. But it is up to him, advice can be taken or not, but it's up to him,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting with the state chapters of PKR, DAP and United Progress Kinabalu Organisation (Upko).

He also told reporters that he wrote to the Yang di Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin on July 29, the same day his rival Tan Sri Musa Aman claimed to have the simple majority from the state assembly, but without naming the numbers, and a headcount showed 32 assemblymen present during his press conference.

Musa needed 33 to make up a simple majority in the 65-seat assembly.

“The process started and I still had the numbers then. I was in the position to advise the TYT, and the state assembly was dissolved a day later,” he said.

“I trust that the TYT’s powers, in this case, is indisputable,” he said.

It was only the next day, after Shafie announced the dissolution that Musa said he had 33 state assemblymen behind him, with signed statutory declarations giving him their support. Musa later said that he was prevented from meeting the TYT and said he was played out by the latter.

Shafie was also asked to comment on a legal suit by a Sabah-based lawyer and two businesswomen to stop the election until the recovery movement control order and the Covid-19 pandemic was over.

“The state attorney general will handle this. I think it’s normal for this to happen,” he said.


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