Court Dismisses Musa Aman’s Sabah Chief Minister Challenge

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The Court of Appeal in Kota Kinabalu has rejected former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman’s appeal against the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging the legality of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s appointment as his successor.


A three-member bench, comprising justices Kamardin Hashim, Rhodzariah Bujang and Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, allowed the respondents’ preliminary objection to strike out the appeal.

Kamardin, who read out the decision, ordered former chief minister Musa to pay RM20,000 to first respondent Juhar Mahiruddin, who is Sabah head of state, and RM50,000 to second respondent Shafie.

Musa was represented by lawyers Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, Anantham Kasinather and S Vanugopal, while Juhar and Shafie were represented by Sabah Attorney-General Zaleha Rose Pandin and counsel Douglas Lind, respectively.

Objecting to the appeal, Lind tendered a letter signed by state assembly secretary Shafaruddin Halide that lists all Sabah assemblymen and their political affiliations.

The majority are in Shafie’s Parti Warisan Sabah-led government.

Supporting the preliminary objection and adopting Lind’s submission, Zaleha Rose said the chief minister’s appointment is the prerogative of the head of state.

Anantham argued that the case does not fall under Article 7(1) of the Sabah constitution.

“The chief minister must admit that he has lost the confidence of the majority and must request to dissolve the assembly.”

Tengku Fuad said whether Musa should no longer be a chief minister is a decision for the state assembly to make.

Vanugopal, meanwhile, said a vote of no confidence against Musa never took place.

Tengku Fuad, speaking to reporters after the verdict, expressed disappointment over the Court of Appeal’s decision.

“We will take this appeal to a higher level as soon as possible.”

The lawyer said they were likely to pursue the matter at the Federal Court as Musa was firm in his belief that the latter was still the rightful chief minister of Sabah.