Sabah Yang di Pertua’s contradiction of Pairin has plunged Sabah into a political and constitutional crisis of the first magnitude


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader,, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Sunday, 13th March 1994:

Sabah Yang di Pertua’s contradiction of Pairin has plunged Sabah into a political and constitutional crisis of the first magnitude

The public statement by the Sabah Yang di Pertua that he had not consented to the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly as announced by the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan earlier in the morning has plunged Sabah into a political and constitutional’crisis of the first magnitude.

It is premature to comment on whether it is the Sabah Yang di Pertua or Pairin who is telling the truth.

However, certain fundamental constitutional issues have been raised by the new political and constitutional crisis in Sabah which must disturb all thinking Malaysians.

Sabah Yang di-Pertua should not get involved in the PBS-Barisan Nasicnal power struggle and keep his constitutional office above partisan politics

Firstly, there is no reason for the Sabah Yang di Pertua to withhold consent to the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly at the request of Pairin as Sabah Chief Minister, at a time when Pairin commands the support of 28 State Assemblymen as compared to 26 for Barisan Nasional.

The Sabah Yang di Pertua should not get involved in the PBS-Barisan Nasional power struggle and keep his constitutional office above partisan politics.

The situation would be very different if two PBS Assemblymen had defected to Barisan Nasional, giving Barisan Nasicnal the majority in the Assembly with 28 while PBS Assembly representation is reduced to 26.

In this situation, from the constitutional point of view, the Yang di Pertua can refuse to accede to the request of Pairin to dissolve the State Assembly on the ground that there is another person who commands the confidence of the majority of the State Assemblymen and should be asked to form the new State Government..

However, it would clearly be an abuse of his office and power as Yang, di Pertua as well as gross political interference and’ involvement “for the Yang di Pertua to refuse to give consent to dissolution to give more time for Barisan Nasional to secure the defection of another two PBS Assemblymen.

Mahathir and Anwar should give assurance that they would not topple Pairin and PBS Government by dishonourable, undemocratic and even unconstitu¬tional means

The second question is whether the Federal Government had put pressure on the Sabah Yang di Pertua, resulting in the abuse of his constitutional office with his contradiction of Pairin on the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly.

If the people of Sabah believe that this is the cause for the extraordinary action by the Sabah Yang di Pertua, so as to create the conditions for the Barisan Nasional to topple Joseph Pairin as Sabah Chief Minister and capture the Sabah State Government from the PBS, it would sow the seeds for greater alienation between Sabah and Kuala Lumpur which would be detri¬mental to long-term nation-building process.

I call on the Barisan Nasional not to topple Pairin and the PBS Government by dishonourable, undemocratic and even unconstitutional means.

The Barisan Nasional Federal Government should consider whether it is worth while toppling Pairin as Sabah Chief Minister as well as unseating the PBS Government if the people of Malaysia, and in particular the people of Sabah, as well as the world believe that this had been achieved by the most dishonourable, undemocratic and even unconstitutional means?

I would seriously urge the Prime Minister, Datuk Eeri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, not to take a narrow Barisan Nasionai approach but to take a larger national perspective on this issue.

Let Mahathir and Anwar declare that although they want to unseat Pairin and PBS Government, they would not achieve it through dishonourable, undemocratic and unconstitutional means, or at the cost of greater integration of Sabahans with the Federal Government.

They should agree to the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly to allow the people of Sabah to decide once again, whether the voters want the Pairin PBS State Government to continue or to replace the PBS Government with a Barisan Nasional Government.

Such a decision must be made by the voters of Sabah in a democratic process, and not by a few Assemblymen who are prepared to pervert the will of the electorate by defecting from the PBS to the Barisan Nasional, demonstrating the corruption of the politics of money in Malaysia.