Prime Minister has referred Datuk Harris Salleh’s breach of Sabah State Constitution to Attorney-General

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in PJ on Saturday, 8.9.1984:

Prime Minister has referred Datuk Harris Salleh’s breach of Sabah State Constitution to Attorney-General

I have received a reply from the Prime Minister, Datuk Sdri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to my letter to him dated 20th August 1984 asking for action to be taken against Datuk Harris Salleh for his breach of the Sabah State Constitution during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister.

In my letter to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir, I said that by being a director of three companies, namelt Dua Bersaudara Sdn. Bhd., Empat Bersaudari Sdn. Bhd. and Sejati Sdn. Bhd., during his tenure of office as Sabah Chief minister, Datuk Harris Salleh had violated both the spirit and substance of Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution which prohibits the Sabah Chief Minister from actively engaging in commercial enterprises.

I said that although the matter had been reported to the Anti-Corruption Agency, quite apart from the question as to whether Datuk Harris’ breach of the Sabah State Constitution involved a corrupt practice or not, Datuk Harris Salleh had set a most undesirable example by violating the Constitution he had sworn to uphold when he took his oath of office. If the Government’s ‘Leadership by Example’ slogan is to have any meaning and credibility, then all bad examples of leadership should be rectified immediately.

I suggested that as a good example of leadership, Datuk Harris Salleh should either resign as Sabah Chief Minister to set the highest standards of political propriety and morality for future holders of the office of Chief Minister. If Datuk Harris Salleh refuses to resign to set a good ‘Leadership by Example’, then the top Barisan Nasional leadership should set a good leadership example by removing him from office.

Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir, in his reply dated 4th September 1984, said that the matter had been referred to the Attorney-General for investigation into its legal, Federal Constitutional and Sabah constitutional aspects.

He said that he would make a public clarification of the matter when he receives a report from the Attorney-General.

Datuk Harris has earlier claimed that the Prime Minister knew about his directorships in the three companies as he had reported them in his declaration of assets, implying that he had the authority of the Prime Minister to violate the Sabah State Constitution.

I had maintained my disbelief that the Prime Minister would do such a thing, especially as he had no authority to condone anyone to break the laws, let alone the Sabah Constitution.

If the Prime Minister had known and authorized Datuk Harris Salleh to violate Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution, then there is no need for the Prime Minister to refer the matter to the Attorney-General.

To protect the good name of the Prime Minister, Datuk Garris Salleh should immediately retract his statement in trying to implicate the Prime Minister by trying to hide behind his back to justify his unconstitutional and unlawful action, and to publicly apologise to the Prime Minister for trying to bring his reputation into public ridicule and contempt.