Tan Sri Sunoh Marso should be removed as Sabah State Assembly Speaker

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Parliament on Friday, Nov.1, 1985:

Tan Sri Sunoh Marso should be removed as Sabah State Assembly Speaker

Tan Sri Sunoh Marso should be removed as Sabah State Assembly Speaker. He is an utter disgrace to Speakerships and parliamentary democracy.

The three PBS Assemblymen had signed undated letters of resignation the Speaker revoking the pre-signed undated letter of resignation after joining PBS.The Kuching High Court had also clearly ruled that undated pre-signed letters of resignation for MPs are unlawful as against public interest. In the fare of the revocation of the undated letters of resignation and the court rulings, Tan Sri Sunoh Marso had perversely proceeded to act on the letters by sending them to the Elections Commission, as he did in the Tambunan case.

It is tragic that a person who have no respect for the law and basic notions of right and wrong could rise to such high office as Speaker of Sabah State Assembly.

When it was announced that the Sabah PBS Government was convening a special State Assembly sitting on Monday to disqualify the USNO Assemblymen, I had forecast a chain reaction of political, legal and constitutional repercussions to take the Sabah political and constitutional crisis to a new height. I had not expected the repercussions to occur immediately, for the engineering of resignation of four Sabah Assemblymen is the latest move by those who want to escalate the constitutional crisis in Sabah.

I would again advise Datuk Pairin not to play into the hands of those who want to derail the PBS Government from its priority task of governing the state, and to be obsessed about the government’s survival.

Datuk Pairin should show himself to be magnanimous, that although the PBS Government had the clear majority in the Sabah State Assembly, to disqualify the USNO Assemblymen, who had been absent consecutively for three Assembly sittings, the PBS Government would not do so, that they recognize and accept USNO as the Opposition Assemblymen, the PBS government firm in their principle and stand in ruling the Sabah State without having to form a coalition government.

Restraint is an important mark of a democratic and mature political leadership especially in a multi-racial society like ours. If Datuk Pairin and PBS are fighting for sheer survival, I would understand. But this is not the present scenario, as Datuk Pairin has got a substantial and comfortable majority.

Datuk Pairin has been misled by the situation of one Assemblymen short of two-third Assembly majority to embark on a political strategy to induce the defection of the USNO Assemblyman for sukau, which had triggered off political, legal and constitutional fall-outs. As I had said, he should abandon all such plans now, and settle down to govern with his comfortable majority.

The only problem faced by the PBS Chief Minister is the doubt over the legality of his appointment as Chief Minister, which is the subject of Tun Mustapha’s court challenge. I believe that the political process in Sabah is not so defective that the doubt over Datuk Pairin’s appointment as Chief Minister could not be resolved once for all, within the political process, without having to wait for the Courts to decide or to think of the ultimate solution of calling fresh general elections.