Stephen Kalong Case Review

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  • Topic: Constitution, United States Constitution, Prime minister
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  • Published : December 2, 2012
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STEPHEN KALONG NINGKAN V. TUN ABANG HAJI OPENG AND TAWI SLI FEDERAL COURT [KUCHING] OCJ HARLEY A-G (BORNEO), CJ [KUCHING CIVIL SUIT NO. K 45 OF 1966] 7 SEPTEMBER 1966 JUDGMENT Harley A-G (Borneo) CJ: The plaintiff was appointed Chief Minister of Sarawak on 22 July 1963. On 14 June 1966 there was a meeting of Council Negri at which, apart from the Speaker, plaintiff and twenty other members were present. Five members of the Sarawak United Peoples Party and one Machinda member, who normally behave as an opposition, were present among the total of 21 members. Of the 21 members, three were ex officio. Bills were. passed without opposition on that day. One of the members present, Abang Haji Abdulrahim bin Abang Haji Moasili, who gave evidence in this case, was a supporter of the plaintiff on 14 June and indeed up to 16 June. He says that as from the evening of 16 June he would not have supported the plaintiff. The fact remains that there has never been a motion of no confidence put in Council Negri, nor has there been any defeat of a Government bill. On 14 June a letter was addressed from Kuala Lumpur to the Governor. It is accepted that this letter was signed by 21 persons who are members of Council Negri. (There are 42 members in all of Council Negri plus the Speaker.) The author of the letter was Tan Sri Temenggong Jugah, Federal Minister for Sarawak Affairs (not a member of Council Negri). The letter reads as follows: Letter No. 1 "TOP SECRET c/o YB Enche Thomas Kana, Dewan Ra'ayat. Kuala Lumpur. 14hb June 1966. His Excellency, The Governor of Sarawak, The Astana, KUCHING. Your Excellency. We, the undersigned members of Council Negri Sarawak, beg to inform your Excellency that we no longer have any confidence in the Hon Dato' Stephen Kalong Ningkan to be our leader in the Council Negri and to continue as Chief Minister.

2. Since the Hon. Dato' Ningkan has mill to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Council Negri, he is bound by article 7(1) of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak to tender the resignation of the members of Supreme Council. 3. We respectfully request your Excellency to take appropriate action under that article and to appoint a new Chief Minister pursuant to article 6(3) of the Constitution. Yours faithfully, (Signed) T JUGAH. (A list of names was attached.)

In the list attached to this letter, 25 names are set out. Against 21 of these names are signatures (in one case the signature is a "chop"). This letter was never shown to the plaintiff until after Court proceedings started. it was handed to the Governor (defendant 1) in Kuching on 16 June. The next letter from the Governor's private secretary to the plaintiff reads as follows: Letter No. 2 ASTANA, KUCHING, SARAWAK. Ref: GOV/SEC/144 16 June 1966. To The Honourable Dato' Stephen Kalong Ningkan, PNBS PDK Chief Minister, Sarawak. Dato', I am directed by his Excellency to inform you that his Excellency has received representations from members of Council Negri constituting the majority of the council, informing his Excellency, and his Excellency is satisfies, that you have ceased to command their confidence. 2. In order that the provisions under articles 7(1) and 6(3) of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak be complied with, his Excellency requires your presence forthwith at the Istana upon receipt of this letter to tender your resignation. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, (Signed) ABDUL KARIM BIN ABOL, Ag Private Secretary to HE the Governor."

In answer to the above the plaintiff replied:

Letter No. 3 Chief Minister, Kuching, Sarawak. Malaysia. 17 June 1966. Ref: CM 1/66 A-G Private Secretary to His Excellency the Governor, The Astana, Kuching. Sir, GOV/SEC/144 dated 16 June 1966 I have the honour to refer to your above letter received by me late last evening and regret that I am temporarily indisposed and unable to present myself at the Astana last night. With deepest respect, the...
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