KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman has to take his oath of office as the state assemblyman for Sungai Sibuga by September 11 or the seat will fall vacant, said Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali.
He said the State Constitution stipulated that elected representatives must take their oath of office within three months from the date of the first sitting of the legislative assembly.
“I’m following the State Constitution which gives an elected assemblyman three months from the first meeting to take his oath.
“In this case, the first meeting of the assembly was on June 11 (following the May 9 polls),” he said.
“He (Musa) has enough time to come back and take his oath.
“If he returns to Sabah, my deputies or I can swear him in in chambers. It is provided for under the Standing Orders,” he said.
Syed Abas added Musa does not have to wait until Sept 11 to take his oath. He can do so at any time before that date.
“He does not have to wait for the next assembly meeting,” he said.
The current assembly first convened on June 11 following the 14th general election in May.
When asked whether a vacancy could be forced in the Sungai Sibuga seat since Musa had already missed three meetings since May 9, Syed Abas said this provision under Section 18(2) did not apply.
“The clause on absence without leave is for assemblymen who have already been sworn in,” he said.
As Speaker, he said he could not grant leave to Musa for any reason because he had yet to be sworn in as an assemblyman.
Musa, who is also Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman, was sworn in as the Sabah chief minister on May 10 after Sabah BN secured a simple majority in the general election but after that several BN assemblymen left the coalition and expressed support for Parti Warisan Sabah led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Warisan then had the majority in the House and Mohd Shafie was duly sworn in as the chief minister.
Musa has mounted a legal challenge against Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin’s May 12 appointment of Mohd Shafie as Chief Minister.
The court is expected to decide on the legal challenge on September 3.
Musa is believed to have left Malaysia on May 17 for medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
He has sent a letter to the state assembly speaker seeking a special dispensation to delay being sworn in as an assemblyman due to medical reasons.
A statement released by his lead counsel Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad last week said Musa had informed the speaker that he is undergoing a series of medical treatments and tests for which he was hospitalised and doctors had advised him against travelling.