Unethical but not illegal, on using statutory declarations to determine majority support, says Sabah lawyers

(feedly.com) – Using statutory declarations (SD) to garner support or to determine majority support in an assembly or Parliament is unethical but not illegal, says some Sabah lawyers.

Datuk John Sikayun said the SD is a legal document and is legally binding.

“However under our state Constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri (TYT) or head of state can use his own judgement to decide who is likely to command the majority, ” he said.

He said the TYT is not bound by the SDs presented to him, though he may take them into consideration in making his judgement or decision.

Sikayun said the discretion is solely the TYT’s without being influenced or pressured by any parties or persons.

“Of course he must make a rational judgement based on acceptable facts and evidence, ” he said.

He said the TYT can choose to use other means to justify or satisfy his judgement, which once is made, is not justiciable.

Asked if he thinks that using SDs to garner majority support in a bid to topple a government is unethical but legal, Sikayun said “yes”.

“But the TYT still has the final say, ” he added.

Lawyer Roger Chin feels that majority support should be gauged by way of a no- confidence vote.

“However, using SDs to determine majority is legal, ” he said, adding that there have been cases such as this in Malaysia.

Of late, there has been talk of the Sabah Opposition bloc gathering support via SDs, with the aim of toppling the current Parti Warisan Sabah-led state government.