Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary General, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP PJ Hqrs on Friday, 24th August 1984 at 11.30 a.m.
DAP would consider filing a second legal action against Datuk Harris Salleh by asking for Court Declaration that he had violated Sabah State Constitution if Dr. Mahathir Mohamed takes no action on the matter
On August 20, 1984, I wrote to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed, asking for firm disciplinary to be taken against Datuk Harris Salleh, Sabah Chief Minister, for violating Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution. This clause prohibits the Sabah Chief Minister from activity engaging in commercial enterprise, but Datuk Harris Salleh was director of at least three companies during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister.
I had stressed to the Prime Minister that if the government’s ‘Leadership by Example’ motto is to have credibility and meaning, then Datuk Harris Salleh should resign as Sabah Chief Minister for having broken his oath of office to uphold the Sabah State Constitution when he became Chief Minister. If Datuk Harris Salleh lacks a basic sense of political morality and propriety, then the Barisan National leadership should remove him as Sabah Chief Minister.
The DAP would consider filing a second legal action against Datuk Harris Salleh by asking the Court for a Declaration that Datuk Harris Salleh, while being Sabah Chief Minister, had violated the Sabah State Constitution if the Prime Minister takes no action on my letter to him.
The question today is what remedy is there for the people at large when the Chief Minister of a State violates the State Constitution. Is the people and country completely helpless and powerless? Is the Chief Minister to be allowed to get away scot-free from such a violation of the Sabah State Constitution – even without remorse or regret or apology to the people and country for his unconstitutional action?
These are questions all Malaysians must ask, especially as the National Day Them this year is ‘Trust As the Basis of Success’. Datuk Harris Salleh had violated the people’s trust by breaching the Sabah Constitution. If the top political leadership is not prepared to do anything to correct this gross breach of trust, then the National Day Theme this year would be proved to be meaningless even before the National Day on August 31 itself.
In these circumstances, I would ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed, to change the National Day Theme so that the theme chosen this year, ‘Trust As the Basis of Success’ would not become a reminder to every Malaysian on August 31 that we are still far short of a ‘trustworthy’ government whether at Federal or State level.
Harris Salleh would be violating Clause 66 and 67 of Immigration Act if he bans me from entry into Sabah
Yesterday, I drew Datuk Harris Salleh’s attention in my open letter to him to Clause 67 of the Immigration Act 1959/63, which provided that the Sabah State Government shall not restrict the entry of a Malaysian into Sabah if he was entering ‘for sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’.
If an ordinary Malaysian, entering Sabah ‘for sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’ could not be restricted from entry, surely as Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament and DAP Secretary-General with branches and members and a Parliamentary constituency in Sabah, such restriction is totally illegal and abuse of power.
I want to tell Datuk Harris Salleh today that if he bans me from entering Sabah via Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, he would also violate Clause 66 of the Immigration Act.
Clause 66 of the Immigration Act provides that a Malaysian shall not be entitled to enter Sabah or Sarawak without having obtained a Permit or Pass except in four categories of persons set down in the Clause, or for two purposes as set out in Clause 67 (for the sole purpose or engaging in legitimate political activity) and the Clause 68 (for purpose of carrying out Federal Government constitutional and administrative responsibilities).
The four categories of persons which are exempted from any restriction of entry into Sabah or Sarawak are:
(a) A Sabahan or Sarawakian;
(b) A Member of the Federal Government;
(c) Federal Court Judge or judge of High Court of Bornec, “or he is a member of any Commission or Council established by the Federal Constitution or by the Constitution of the East Malaysian State”; or
(d) A member of any of the public services of the Federation or East Malaysian State.
As Clause 66(1) (c) provides that ‘a member of any Commission or Council established by the Federal Constitution’ is exempted from any restriction into Sabah, this clearly covers Members of Parliament, for Parliament is the highest Council that could be established by the Federal Constitution.
I am sure that when the drafters of the Constitution and Clause 66 of the Immigration Act had been asked at the time whether MPs are included in the category of persons exempted from immigration restrictions into Sabah and Sarawak, and could enter both these states ‘as of right’, the draftsmen would have dismissed the question as obvious, as even members of lesser bodies created by the Federal Constitution are also given the unrestricted right of entry into Sabah and Sarawak.
I am thus under Clause 66(1) (c) in my capacity as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and MP belong to the category of persons who has the unrestricted right of entry into Sabah, and under Clause 67 entering for a purpose where the Sabah State could not constitutionally prohibit my entry.
Datuk Harris Salleh would therefore be violating both Clauses 66 and 67 if he prohibits my entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu on Sunday morning.
The Kota Kinabalu date of August 26 has now overshadowed the Sandakan date of August 27, for all Malaysians and even the whole world is watching as to whether in Malaysia, Federal and State Government leaders accept the rule of law and operate within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the land, or could openly defy and hold in public contempt the Constitution and the laws of the land.
Harris Salleh has two days left to decide whether he wants to go down in history as the Sabah Chief Minister who brought shame and disrepute to Malaysia’s international reputation and image by his unconstitutional and unlawful action on August 26!