Former Sabah chief minister Musa wants his appeal to be declared state chief heard earlier

The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya had rejected an appeal filed by Tan Sri Musa (centre) and 32 other assemblymen. PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

KOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said he wants Malaysia's federal court to speed up the hearing of his appeal to be declared the state's rightful leader after his separate bid to stop the July 30 dissolution of the state assembly was dismissed at the Court of Appeal.

A three-member bench at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya had on Tuesday (Sept 8) rejected an appeal filed by Tan Sri Musa and 32 other assemblymen to challenge the state governor's decision to dissolve the assembly on the grounds that such matter is within the governor's discretion.

In a statement issued shortly after the ruling on Tuesday, Mr Musa expressed his disappointment but said he respects the decision of the the court.

"All 33 of us are, of course, very disappointed. Nevertheless, we respect the decision of the court, " he said.

Tuesday's ruling has effectively paved the way for the state election scheduled on Sept 26, with nominations on Sept 12.

Mr Musa said he hoped that a separate appeal he filed to the Federal Court challenging his removal as Sabah's chief minister could be expedited as it would have a direct bearing on the legality of the election, The Star newspaper reported.

Warisan and its coalition allies led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie had controlled 45 of the 65 state seats from 2018.

But Mr Mohd Shafie dissolved the assembly on July 30 after at least 13 of its assemblymen jumped ship to support Mr Musa, his predecessor from Umno.

Mr Musa said the Federal Court had on Aug 26 "taken cognisance" that his own appointment as Sabah chief minister on May 10, 2018, was valid and in accordance with the state constitution.

He had on May 17 filed a lawsuit to invalidate Mr Mohd Shafie's appointment as Sabah's chief minister, five days after the latter was sworn into office.

The lawsuit was thrown out by both the High Court and Court of Appeal but in a majority 2-1 ruling, the Federal Court had on Aug 26 this year granted Mr Musa leave to appeal the case.

"As a result of the Federal Court decision on Aug 26, 2020, it held that there were constitutional questions of grave importance that must be heard by the Federal Court, among others, on how the TYT (state governor) had purportedly dismissed me as the chief minister and whether the appointment of Shafie as my successor was ultra vires, null and void, " he said.

He said his lawyers had requested an early hearing date.

"Therefore, l implore Yang Amat Arif Chief Justice of Malaysia to give me a much earlier date of hearing than what has been given, " he said.

If the Federal Court was to hear chief minister dispute after the nomination day on Sept 12, it would be akin to "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted", he said.

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