Sabah Umno joins chorus demanding state AG resign after court ‘blunder’

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, May 21 — Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin today joined a growing number of people demanding the resignation of the state attorney general following a controversial statement made by appointed lawyer Datuk Tengku Fuad Ahmad in a court case representing the state government.

Bung said that Fuad’s conduct had disregarded the state’s aspirations and violated their trust when he had in court said that Sabah’s claim for the 40 per cent return of revenue from the state government was “aspirational but not a right”.

“The appointment and the act of appointing lawyer Tengku Datuk Fuad as the government representative has violated and disregarded the aspirations of the people of Sabah when he attacked the Sabah Law Society (SLS) as a busybody entity with no right to represent Sabah. This is unacceptable and very disappointing.

“Therefore, not only the Sabah State Attorney General, but also the Sabah state secretary should take responsibility and resign honourably,” he said in a statement here.

Bung, who is Lamag assemblyman and Kinabatangan MP, said the explanation by Sabah AG Datuk Nor Aisah Mohd Yusof regarding the appointment of Fuad recently has become increasingly confusing and raised more questions.

“How is it possible for the Sabah State Attorney General to take such a significant action on their own without the approval or direction from higher authorities such as the Sabah State Secretary, since the Sabah State Attorney General represents the official stance of the Sabah government?” he asked.

“Sabah Umno will closely monitor this matter and if it is not clarified and resolved in the near future, the Chief Minister and the entire cabinet need to take collective responsibility and resign so that the mandate to choose a new government can be returned to the people,” he said.

Yesterday, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan said the state Cabinet will be discussing the matter at their meeting this week after several calls not just for the AG’s resignation but also a revamp of the AG office were made by government aligned parties.

United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee had called for a revamp at the State AG's office, while Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Datuk Chin Su Phin had also called for Nor Asiah's sacking.

The controversy started during the May 16 hearing at the Court of Appeal of a case between Sabah Law Society(SLS) and the federal and state governments.

Sabah was not represented by a public officer from Sabah Attorney-General Chambers but by Fuad who said he was officially appointed by the State AG and had filed the appointment letter in court.

However, Fuad in his argument of the SLS’s right to argue the case had stated that Article 112C of the Federal Constitution which provides for the state to get back 40 per cent revenue, was “not a mandatory or absolute right” and was just an “aspiration.”

The statement is seen to be in contradiction of the state government’s long term efforts to claim this provision from the federal government. The following day, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor issued a statement saying that they were supportive of SLS’s right to take up the case and that he has asked the state AG to scrutinise and review the ongoing legal proceedings and if necessary, to correct any misguided statement that differs from the state's clear and formal position.

Case management for the hearing is set for this Friday.