KOTA KINABALU: The Court of Appeal here today has dismissed Tan Sri Musa Aman's appeal against the dismissal of his suit in challenging the appointment of Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as Sabah Chief Minister.
The dismissal came with a cost, with the former chief minister being ordered to pay RM50,000 to Shafie, who is named the second respondent.
Musa was also ordered to pay RM20,000 in cost to the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, who was named as the first respondent in the suit.
The decision was delivered by a three-member bench comprising justices Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang, Datuk Kamardin Hashim, and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.
The court upheld the preliminary objection (PO) made by the second respondent after agreeing that the case was academic.
Shafie was represented by a team of counsel led by Datuk Douglas Lind. Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad led a team of lawyers representing Musa.
During the submissions on PO, Douglas said the appellant’s appeal was not competent because it has now become academic.
He said the outcome of the appeal will have no effect at all on the positions or interests of either Musa or Shafie, adding that such situation is due to the current support garnered by the duo respectively in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly.
Based on the support as shown in a lists attached to a letter dated Oct 3, 2019, from the state assembly secretary, Douglas noted Musa, at best, can only garner the support of all eight opposition members, including himself.
Shafie, on the other hand, has the support of 52 assemblymen and therefore has the support of more than two-thirds of the members in the State Legislative Assembly.
"Even if the appellant succeeds with his appeal, the status quo remains and the second respondent will continue to be the Chief Minister as having such a large number of assemblymen supporting him. The second respondent’s position is unshakeable and remains unassailable.
"The appeal has clearly become academic and purely exercise in futile and serves no purpose at all. The appeal is therefore not competent, and it is urged that the court will not proceed but dismiss the appeal," stressed Douglas.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Tengku Fuad said he was disappointed with the decision but noted they have received an immediate instruction from Musa to take the matter to the Federal court.
"Tan Sri Musa maintains his position that he is the lawfully chief minister. So that will be determined by the Federal court.
“If the appeal finished, we will take it higher," he said.
On Nov 7 last year, the High Court here dismissed the suit filed by Musa against Shafie when it ruled that the latter was the lawful chief minister and that his appointment is constitutional.