Sabah Speaker rejects Sebatik rep’s pre-signed ‘resignation’, says assemblyman to remain as independent

Julia Chan
·3-min read
Sebatik State Assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir from Warisan announced his resignation and expressed support for Sabah’s GRS coalition government, in Kota Kinabalu, February 25, 2021. — Bernama pic
Sebatik State Assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir from Warisan announced his resignation and expressed support for Sabah’s GRS coalition government, in Kota Kinabalu, February 25, 2021. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, March 3 — The Sabah Assembly has rejected a pre-signed resignation letter by Sebatik assemblyman Hassan Amir Gani before he made the decision to leave Parti Warisan Sabah to support Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

Speaker Datuk Kadzim Yahaya told official media that the decision was made after Hassan’s own declaration that he did not want to resign and that the pre-signed letter was void according to the law.

“I have perused the letter of resignation handed over by Warisan as well as the statutory declaration by Sebatik assemblyman revoking all that he agreed with Warisan.

“I have decided that there is no vacancy in the Sebatik seat, because a pre-signed undated resignation is void and against public policy, as far as the law stands now. Hassan will remain the assemblyman as an independent,” he said.

After deliberation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Kadzim said he was bound to accept the pre-signed resignation letter that was delivered by Warisan Secretary General Datuk Loretto Padua Jr yesterday.

Hassan sent a letter withdrawing the presigned resignation letters to Kadzim at about 11.45am yesterday, while Warisan sent the pre-signed resignation letter at 12.15pm.

Kadzim said that it was up to the party to take whatever legal action against Hassan if they deemed necessary but his office had no more issue with the Sebatik assemblyman’s position.

“If Warisan is not satisfied with Hassan for breaking the vow, they can take the necessary action on this,” he said.

In rejecting the pre signed resignation, he said that the issue was that there was no date on the letter which threw into question its legitimacy.

According to current laws, the undated letter of resignation is void and ineffective, and that the person himself must write the letter and send it to the Speaker on his own if he wished to resign as assemblyman.

“I cannot make a decision that is breaching the current laws,” he said, adding that an anti-hopping party law had to be put in place in order to change the circumstances.

On February 25 last week, first time assemblyman Hassan told national news agency Bernama that he was leaving Warisan, to support the GRS state government.

The party released a video clip of him taken before the state elections last September, pledging to remain in Warisan throughout his term if he was elected, and agreeing to sign a resignation letter which could be used against him should he leave the party or be sacked, among other reasons.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said that the letter should be considered valid as Hassan had signed it on his own freewill.

However, lawyers said that such a pledge could not hold up in court as it curtailed Article 10 in the Federal Constitution that guaranteed the right to freedom of association.

Hassan posted on his Facebook wall that he was “forced” to make the pledge or else he would not be named as candidate.

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