Musa Aman says he dropped lawsuit against Shafie Apdal as ‘wrong has been righted’

Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (left) arrives at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya September 7, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (left) arrives at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya September 7, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KOTA KINABALU, March 26 — After withdrawing his lawsuit against the Sabah governor and his political nemesis Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today, Tan Sri Musa Aman said he had not initiated legal proceedings in the first place due to a personal vendetta, but to fix a constitutional wrong.

After seeing his suit struck out, with the court ordering him to pay RM60,000 in costs to the defendants, Musa insisted that he was merely exercising his constitutional right as the rightful chief minister of Sabah at the time.

“I initiated the legal suit not out of personal vendetta, but out of my duty to correct a wrong done earlier in replacing a validly elected new government after the 14th general election in 2018,” he said in a statement issued here.

He said that his suit against Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Shafie was to uphold the validity of a democratically formed government in the state.

“In fact, after the new government of Sabah was legally formed on May 5, 2018 (a day after the May 9 general election) and the first Cabinet meeting was also held, within the next 48 hours, I was asked to resign (which I refused) and replaced.

“Many do not know that simply asking an elected chief minister to resign without following the proper procedure as spelt out in our Constitution of Sabah is akin to disrespecting the Constitution itself,” said Musa.

The four-term chief minister, who helmed Sabah for 15 years, said there can only be two scenarios where a sitting chief minister is removed: either he resigns of his own accord or he fails to command the confidence of the majority of the Sabah Legislative Assembly.

Musa was sworn in on May 10, 2018 by Juhar in a late-night ceremony, only to be asked by Juhar to make way for Shafie less than 48 hours later.

Shafie, who claimed to have the majority then by way of statutory declarations from former Barisan Nasional assemblymen, was sworn in on May 12, 2018 by Juhar, an act which Musa describes as “plainly wrong”.

Musa said that he seized the opportunity to correct the wrong on July 20, 2020 when 33 elected assemblymen in Sabah joined forces to back him as the next chief minister of Sabah, toppling the Warisan government who had been in power for just over two years.

Musa again blamed Shafie for not bowing out but instead dissolving the Sabah Legislative Assembly, paving the way for a snap election on September 26, 2020, which later triggered the third and worst wave of Covid-19 in Malaysia to date.

Musa did not stand for election after Umno dropped him from its candidate list, but the latter’s partners in the new Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) alliance ended up forming the state government.

Musa said that he decided to drop his suit because he feels the current Sabah government is legitimate.

“With the new GRS government in Sabah, I believe that I have now completed my final personal duty to the rakyat and my colleagues, which is to correct the injustices that have befallen our state back in 2018,” he said, as he described the events leading to his ouster as a “dark chapter in the political history of Sabah”.

“Let us find a peaceful conclusion to this matter and leave personal interest and egos aside,” he said, adding that Sabah has politically realigned and is now ready to move forward in the right direction.

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