Hornbill Unleashed

May 13, 2017

DUN revokes Dr Ting’s membership

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Dr Ting Tiong ChoonTHE State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday resolved to unseat Dr Ting Tiong Choon (DAP-Pujut) following an overwhelming 70 votes from Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen in favour of a ministerial motion tabled by Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh who sought to disqualify Dr Ting as an elected representative.

Only 10 DUN members, from DAP and PKR, voted against the motion.

Wong who is the Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce moved the motion under Standing Order 23(1)(a). The motion was read together with Standing Order 32(2), Standing Order 40(10) and Article 17(1)(g) of the State Constitution.

“Article 17(1)(g) of the State of Sarawak Constitution states that a person is disqualified from being elected as a member of Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) if he has voluntarily acquired citizenship of or exercised rights of citizenship in or has made declaration of allegiance to any country outside the Federation of Malaysia.

“By way of Statutory Declaration dated April 22, 2016, honourable member for Pujut declared that he has not lost the qualification to be elected as ADUN in breach of the Constitution.” Wong read out in the DUN Chamber.

He revealed that Dr Ting acquired the Australian citizenship on Jan 20, 2010 thereby declaring his allegiance to Australia and also exercised his rights as a citizen by registering as a voter with the Australian Electoral Commission.

Wong added further ground for Dr Ting’s disqualification by disclosing that Dr Ting  was declared bankrupt twice in Australia.

The DAP man was said to have been declared bankrupt on June 29 and Sept 11, both in 2012.

Wong then described Dr Ting as unqualified, unfit and untrustworthy individual to be nominated and elected to represent the people of Sarawak.

“As a result of his voluntary acts, member for Pujut has ceased to be member of Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak due to the breaches of Article 17(1)(g) of the Constitution.

“Therefore, it is moved that this House hereby resolves that member for Pujut is disqualified under Article 17(1)(g) of the State of Sarawak Constitution to be a member and has ceased to be member of the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak forthwith.”

This ministerial motion was seconded by Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil and debated by Dr Ting and Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) prior to Wong’s winding-up speech and being put to a vote.

DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar made the ruling that Dr Ting was disqualified and ceased to be an elected representative after the vote-count.

“I hereby declare that the ministerial motion in the name of Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is approved.

“The honourable member for Pujut is hereby disqualified under Article 17(1)(g) of the State of Sarawak Constitution as a member of the House and ceased to be member of the House forthwith,” ruled Asfia.

In his defence earlier, Dr Ting said the alleged allegiance and so-called evidence in the forms of letters and documents presented by Wong to the august House did not come from the Australian government but from the Internet.

He dismissed the charge of bankruptcy by asking how he could be declared insolvent twice within a period of three months.

“Has any member of this House heard of bankruptcy twice in three months? How do you do it? It’s just useless document to prove that I was bankrupt twice. It’s

purely allegation and the documents did not come from member for Bawang Assan (Wong). If I were bankrupt, how was I going to enter and leave Australia freely?”

Dr Ting then requested the minister to show evidence of him pledging allegiance to Australia and exercising his voting right in Australia.

He said he had renounced his Australian citizenship on April 14, 2016 but the document printed by Wong to prove his allegiance to Australia was dated July 10, 2016.

“That is three months after my renouncement of Australian citizenship,” he said, adding that the evidence Wong presented was nothing and would not stand in court.

Dr Ting  explained a bit that he was left with no choice but to stay in Australia back then because his wife is a foreigner.

DAP state chairman Chong Chien Jen who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman who rose to Dr Ting’s defence, said the Election Court had made a ruling on the election petition filed by BN Pujut direct candidate Dato Hii King Chiong after the last state election in favour of Dr Ting.

“Knowing that they could not succeed in court, they now come back to this House with full knowledge that with this House, might is right, with the brute majority that they can carry through whatever motion tabled by a BN member.”

Chong then went through the evidence presented by the minister by pointing out that the evidence would be thrown out by court.

“Anyone trained in law would know that. And that’s why today we see the proposer and the seconder from UPP (United People’s Party). They are not trained in law, but we are arguing a point of constitutional law.”

Standing firm on his decision, Asfia informed the august House that Dr Ting’s bankruptcy was clearly stated on the website of an Australian government agency – Australian Financial Security Authority.

“If you press it, you click, those are the names (who are) bankrupt. Instead of using the word bankrupt, it’s called insolvency. So your name appeared there in the insolvency index.

“Your full name appeared. Do you challenge? Do you think it’s fake? That the Australian government is running a fake website? Insolvency means bankrupt,” he told Dr Ting

Chong was heard shouting in the background, that insolvency is not bankruptcy but his microphone was turned off at the time.

Chong continued to raise his voice, with the microphone still turned off, as he attempted to put his argument across but Asfia went on with his address.

“Article 24(1) of the Federal Constitution, I read to you, If the federal government is satisfied that any citizen has acquired by registration, naturalisation or other voluntary and formal act the citizenship of any country outside the federation, the federal government may by order deprive that person of his citizenship.

“Which means the moment you acquire an Australian citizenship, you are deprived of a Malaysian citizenship, you cannot have dual citizenship from Malaysia.

“You renounced it but Article 23(1) of the Federal Constitution says, any renunciation of citizenship must be registered in Malaysia. You cannot unilaterally renounce it. This is the law. You challenge this law?” stressed Asfia, who then called Wong to wind up.

Chong was then granted the floor and he asserted: “You (Asfia) make an interpretation of Article 24 of the Federal Constitution. That is your interpretation and if we go outside of this House, it will not be a final interpretation. The word is ‘may’, the government may…”

Asfia responded: “Honorable member for Kota Sentosa, with the greatest respect, this matter started in the election petition. You used the preliminary objection so that the substantive issue could not be raised in court. Now you say it’s to be raised in court. Why did you raise preliminary objection? If you did not raise this preliminary objection, this would be determined by the court. Because this issue was not been able to be raised in court, it is raised in the Dewan.”

Chong replied, “Mr speaker, preliminary objection in election petition goes to the jurisdiction of the court to decide the matter in hand. If you do not comply with the objections that we have raised, those technical points, the election court has no jurisdiction but that does not deprive the government of taking another action for a declaration that he (Dr Ting) being disqualified.

“Not under election petition but under high court jurisdiction. But you chose to come to this House where the brute majority would rule, might is right to deprive the people of Pujut, their rightful voice. That is law making but not interpreting law.”

Chong wanted to go on making his point but his microphone was turned off again.

He then got into a heated argument with Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (whose mic was also turned off).

Asfia had to appeal to both of them to be seated in order to make way for Wong to complete his winding up speech.

The Speaker then ruled that the august House has the final say on the membership of any member of the House as stipulated under Article 19 of the State Constitution.

When the floor was returned to the minister, Wong advised DAP to scrutinise their candidates before the nomination of any elections.

“You cannot just source and scout for any person. I know you want a professional, a doctor or a lawyer, but you should not choose without screening the background. Now you live to regret.”

This point provoked Chong to defend his party, but Asfia ruled that the minister had the right of the floor to finish wind up his speech.

Half way through the speech, Wong threw a question at Dr Ting: “Member for Pujut, did you acquire the Australian citizenship?”

Dr Ting declined to give a direct reply which prompted Wong to interject and demand that the DAP man offer a ‘Yes or no’ answer.

Dr Ting still refused to provide a simple answer but argued that he was not the one who raised the allegation, and that Wong should be the one proving to the House that he had indeed acquired the Australian citizenship.

Dr Ting’s defence led Asfia to point out: “This is not a motion against Bawang Assan. It’s against you.”

Wong carried on his speech with an advice to Dr Ting: “Do not try to mislead this House anymore. Do not try to confuse anyone.”

Some opposition members could have challenged the minister to repeat the matter outside the House as Wong was heard: “I will do it. Don’t challenge me. I will do it.”

He warned the opposition that they would be landing Dr Ting in hot water as he has concrete evidence that Dr Ting had accepted the Australian citizenship and exercised the right as Australian citizen by registered by the Electoral Commission of Australia.

Lim How Pim, Lian Cheng, Jacob Achoi, Karen Bong, Rintos Mail, Irene C and Saiful Bahari, Photographers: Chimon Upon and Jeffrey Mostapa,reporters@theborneopost.com



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