Musa Aman withdraws appeal over rightful Chief Minister post

PUTRAJAYA: Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman withdraws his appeal in the Federal Court over his legal challenge on the legality of Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s appointment as Sabah Chief Minister.


Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Jahid@Noordin Jahim has also withdrawn his appeal on the same matter.

Jahid’s lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin informed the three–member bench of the withdrawal of the two appeals today.

In today’s court proceeding conducted online via Zoom, Firoz sought the withdrawal of the appeals as they have been overtaken by time and circumstances since an election had taken place in the state and a new government has been formed.

He told the court that it was perhaps more appropriate to focus on the harmony and economy of the state and to support the new government.

Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf who chaired the  bench subsequently struck out both appeals.

She ordered Musa who was by lawyer Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, to pay RM60,000 costs to Mohd Shafie and Jahid to pay RM20,000 costs to Shafie after Mohd Shafie’s lawyers Datuk Dr Cyrus Das and Datuk Douglas T. Lind requested for costs from them.

Senior state counsel Datuk Brenndon Keith Soh and state counsel Chee Chun Yen from the Sabah State Attorney-General Chambers appearing for Sabah governor Yang  Di- Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, assembly speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Syed Abas Syed Ali and legislative secretary Datuk Bernard J. Dalinting did not seek costs.

The other two judges were the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

On Aug 25, last year, the Federal Court in a 2-1 majority granted Musa and Jahid leave to pursue their appeals in the Federal Court over the right to the Sabah Chief Minister post after they lost their cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

In today’ proceedings, Firoz also told the court that both Musa and Jahid should not be subjected to costs as it was a public interest matter.

Das, however, said Musa and Jahid’s proposal for withdrawal of the appeals came rather late in the day which was after a timeline was fixed for parties to file their submissions.

He said it was a tussle between Musa Aman and Mohd Shafie over the right to hold the Chief Minister’s post which was a constitutional dispute.

Meanwhile, Lind said his client should be given costs as they were only informed of the withdrawal on March 17, this year.

Musa was sworn in as Chief Minister on May 10, 2018 after securing a simple majority in the 14th general election but lost the majority when several assemblymen from his party (UMNO) and from a Barisan Nasional component party (UPKO) jumped ship to give their support to Parti Warisan Sabah, which was led by Mohd Shafie.

Musa then filed an originating summons to challenge Mohd Shafie’s appointment as the new Chief Minister, claiming that he was the rightful Chief Minister of Sabah.
He sought from the court, among others, a declaration that he was the rightful Chief Minister of Sabah appointed by Juhar.

In the originating summons, Musa named Juhar as the first defendant and his successor, Mohd Shafie, as the second defendant, in which he sought a declaration that Mohd Shafie’s appointment as Chief Minister on May 12, 2018, was illegal.

On Nov 7, 2018, the Kota Kinabalu High Court in dismissing Musa’s originating summons ruled that Mohd Shafie’s appointment as Chief Minister was constitutional.

Then High Court Judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie, now Court of Appeal Judge, held that Musa had lost the command of the majority in the assembly with the defection of six assemblymen from BN-Sabah.
Both Musa and Jahid’s appeals were dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2019.

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