Media Comment by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010:
Once Perlis Speaker has confirmed receipt of Titi Tinggi Assemblyman Yip Sun Onn’s resignation, it cannot be retracted or it could be challenged in a court of law
It’s a political bombshell – the resignation of Titi Tinggi Assemblyman from Perlis, Yip Sun Onn after he was removed from the state executive council and replaced with Indera Kayangan assemblyman Dr. Por Choo Chor last Friday because of MCA’s “Three Kingdom” factional infighting.
But it is also a legal bombshell – for once Perlis Speaker, Yazid Mat has confirmed receipt of Yip’s letter of resignation (which he has done to more than one media), Yip’s letter of resignation cannot be retracted or it could be challenged in a court of law.
Various parties, including the Speaker, the Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Isa Sabu and the Perlis MCA Chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, are trying to persuade Yip to reconsider his resignation - as reported by various printed and online media.
But this is too late. Once Yip’s resignation letter had been received by the Speaker, it cannot be retracted and if Yip tries to do so, his status as State Assemblyman could be challenged in a court of law, as Yip would be an unlawful State Assemblyman from the date of his resignation and the Speaker would be acting unlawfully in allowing the resignation letter to be retracted.
Of course, the Speaker could take pains to ascertain whether Yip’s letter of resignation was a genuine one or whether the signature was counterfeit or result of blackmail – but the Speaker’s powers are limited and he could not ask Yip to reconsider and withdraw his resignation if Yip had indeed sent in such a letter.
It is understandable that there is a sense of panic in MCA and Barisan Nasional camp because this cannot be a worse possible time for them to face a by-election with the Pakatan Rakyat. But that is another matter.
The Perlis Speaker and Mentri Besar should not be acting in any manner making them into national jokes if they try to get Yip to reconsider what is already a fait accompli and beyond the powers of Yip to undo – his resignation as Titi Tinggi Assemblyman in Perlis.
What the Speaker should do honourably and properly is to submit Yip’s resignation to the Election Commission for a by-election to be held within 60 days.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor