SARAWAK STATE AS­SEM­BLY SACKS DAP’S PUJUT REP

Dr Ting Tiong Choon had dual cit­i­zen­ship, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - News - DATUK SERI WONG SOON KOH

ADIB POVERA, GOH PEI PEI AND MOHD ROJI KAWI PE­TRA JAYA news@nst.com.my

THE Sarawak State Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly made an un­prece­dented move yes­ter­day by dis­qual­i­fy­ing DAP’s Dr Ting Tiong Choon as Pujut as­sem­bly­man for al­legedly hold­ing dual cit­i­zen­ship.

The de­ci­sion, de­scribed by po­lit­i­cal ob­servers as a first in the coun­try’s his­tory, also raised the pos­si­bil­ity of a by-elec­tion be­ing held in the state con­stituency.

The ver­dict against Dr Ting was made af­ter the state as­sem­bly voted in favour of a min­is­te­rial mo­tion moved against the one-term op­po­si­tion as­sem­bly­man.

State Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly Speaker Datuk Mohd As­fia Awang Nas­sar an­nounced the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Dr Ting af­ter 70 as­sem­bly­men voted in favour of the mo­tion with only 10 state law­mak­ers vot­ing against it.

“The hon­ourable mem­ber for Pujut is hereby dis­qual­i­fied un­der Article 17(1)(g) of the State Con­sti­tu­tion of Sarawak to be a mem­ber and has ceased to be a mem­ber of the De­wan Un­dan­gan Negeri Sarawak forth­with,” said As­fia be­fore ad­journ­ing the morn­ing ses­sion of the state as­sem­bly sit­ting here yes­ter­day.

The min­is­te­rial mo­tion was moved by state In­ter­na­tional Trade and E-Com­merce Min­is­ter, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.

Wong said the Article stip­u­lated that a per­son would be dis­qual­i­fied from be­ing an elected mem­ber of the state as­sem­bly if he vol­un­tar­ily ac­quired the cit­i­zen­ship of an­other coun­try.

Wong said he was in­formed by Bukit Aman po­lice head­quar­ters via a let­ter that Dr Ting ac­quired Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship on Jan 20, 2010, but re­nounced it on April 4 last year.

He also said Dr Ting had ex­er­cised the right as an Aus­tralian cit­i­zen by reg­is­ter­ing as a voter with the Aus­tralian Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

“He (had) trusted and be­lieved the rights and lib­er­ties of the Aus­tralian peo­ple, which he had great re­spect and whose laws he has agreed to up­hold and obey.

“Hav­ing given his al­le­giance to Aus­tralia, the hon­ourable mem­ber (Dr Ting) has breached the ex­pressed pro­vi­sion of Article 17(1)(g) of the State Con­sti­tu­tion of Sarawak.

“And (Dr Ting) is a com­pletely un­fit and un­trust­wor­thy per­son to be a mem­ber of the re­spected and hon­ourable state as­sem­bly,” he said.

Wong, re­fer­ring to a re­port by Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Se­cu­rity Author­ity, said Dr Ting had been de­clared a bank­rupt twice when he was in Aus­tralia on June 29, 2012 and Sept 11, 2012.

A heated de­bate en­sued be­tween as­sem­bly­men from both sides of the di­vide af­ter Wong’s wind­ing-up speech.

Dr Ting, in his de­fence, cast doubts on the au­then­tic­ity of the re­port pub­lished by the Aus­tralian author­ity.

“Has any­one in this house ever heard of a per­son be­ing de­clared a bank­rupt twice within three months?

“How do you do it?

“And if I were a bank­rupt, how can I en­ter and exit Aus­tralia freely?” he asked.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence later, Dr Ting said: “I de­cided to re­nounce my Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship as I wanted to come back (to Malaysia to serve the peo­ple).”

The re­nounce­ment of cit­i­zen­ship ap­pli­ca­tion, he said, was ac­cepted by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment in April last year.

Sarawak DAP chair­man, Chong Chieng Jen, said the party was con­sid­er­ing tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the state as­sem­bly.

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, in a state­ment, said it would de­cide on the next course of ac­tion pend­ing an of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tion from As­fia on the sta­tus of the Pujut state seat.

A by-elec­tion must be called within 60 days af­ter a state seat has been va­cated or de­clared va­cant.

And (Dr Ting) is a com­pletely un­fit and un­trust­wor­thy per­son to be a mem­ber of the re­spected and hon­ourable state as­sem­bly.

PIC BY MOHD RADZI BUJANG

Dr Ting Tiong Choon leav­ing the Sarawak State As­sem­bly in Kuch­ing yes­ter­day.

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