宁甘的传奇 The saga of Ningkan

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1966年6月16日,砂捞越州元首收到了砂立法议会内部21名成员签署的一封信,其中提到不再对作为首席部长的斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘有信心砂元首于6月16日写道,他从收到的陈述中得知,宁甘已不再获得立法议会的信任,并要求宁甘辞职。宁甘在6月17日的答复中告知砂元首,对于尼格里议员在他身上失去信心的看法没有得到6月14日立法议会会议的支持,他要求提供那些签署了信件的人名字。元首在回复这封信的同时,通知宁甘,因为他拒绝接受辞职,元首宣布宁甘已经被停止任职,并任命塔维·斯利作为首席部长立即生效。

 

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The saga of Stephen Kalong Ningkan — the conclusion

Last week, we looked at the build-up to the constitutional crisis in Sarawak involving Stephen Kalong Ningkan expressed in five letters.

On June 16, 1966, the Governor of Sarawak received a letter signed by 21 members of the Council Negri to the effect that the writers no longer had any confidence in Stephen Kalong Ningkan, as their Chief Minister.

The Governor thereupon wrote on June 16 that from representations he had received, he was satisfied that the plaintiff had ceased to command the confidence of the Council Negri and invited Ningkan to resign.

In his reply of June 17, Ningkan informed the Governor that the Governor’s views as to the loss of confidence of the members of the Council Negri in him was not supported by the meeting of the Council Negri held on the June 14 and he requested the names of those who had signed the representations.

In reply to this letter, the Governor on the same date informed Ningkan as he had refused to tender the resignation of members of the Supreme Council, the Governor declared that Ningkan and other members of the Supreme Council had ceased to hold office and appointed Tawi Sli as Chief Minister forthwith. The Governor also forwarded a list of those who had signed the representations and Ningkan commenced proceedings in the Sarawak High Court against the Governor as the first defendant and Tawi Sli as the second defendant.  On Sept 7, 1966, the ruling Chief Justice of Borneo, Justice Harley, delivered his decision on Ningkan’s suit: “Has the Governor in Sarawak power at all to dismiss the Chief Minister? In considering this question, we may start with section 21 of the Interpretation Ordinance, the general effect of which is that where there is power to appoint (and it is not disputed that the Governor has power to appoint a Chief Minister) there is power to dismiss. However, where the appointment is ‘subject to the approval of some other person, the power of dismissal shall only be exercisable subject to the approval of such other person’. If the appointment of a Chief Minister is subject to the approval of Council Negri, then by this section 21 dismissal also would be subject to its approval.

“In Sarawak, the Chief Minister’s dismissal is quite simply beyond the powers of the Governor unless (a) the Chief Minister has lost the confidence of the House, and (b) the Chief Minister has refused to resign and failed to advise a dissolution.

“I do not think that the Chief Minister of Sarawak was ever given a reasonable opportunity to tender his resignation or to request a dissolution. He was never even shown the letter on which the dismissal was based until court proceedings started, although it is true that at the moment of dismissal a list of signatories was sent to him with the letter from the Governor dated 17th June. That list and that letter were typed on the same date as the publication in the Gazette of the dismissal of the plaintiff, who was given no time at all to consider the weight or effect of the move against him. Plaintiff did not refuse to resign: he merely expressed doubts whether in fact he had ceased to command a majority and requested ‘that the matter be put to the constitutional test’.

“My task is simply to interpret the written word of the Constitution. On such interpretation the case presented in the statement of claim is unchallengeable. There will be judgement for the plaintiff as prayed.”

Judgment for Stephen Kalong Ningkan.

Conclusion

And so Stephen Kalong Ningkan had finally won the day. But victory was short-lived. The Federal Government at that time was facing fierce opposition to the concept of Malaysia. Brunei refused to join, and Singapore – the original partner to Malaysia – had seceded from the Federation. Indonesia started the Confrontation Wars. The Philippines still kept alive their claim to Sabah.

There was internal racial tension, which in 1969 culminated in the May 13 riots. The new nation of Malaysia was under immense pressure after its baptism of fire in the world of nations. The loss of Sarawak would have been the knockout blow for the new nation.

It was inevitable that the Federal Government declared a state of emergency which legally ended Ningkan’s reign as Chief Minister of Sarawak. In a strange way, Ningkan was sacrificed to ensure the survival of Malaysia.

Ningkan challenged the emergency declaration right up to the Privy Council, but on each occasion he was defeated. After that his political career descended into oblivion and outside Sarawak he is hardly known or ever mentioned, even though he was the first Chief Minister of Sarawak. You can hardly find his images, even on the Internet.

However, there has been a unique revival of his name through an unusual way. Whenever any student studies or researches the constitutional law of Malaysia, or whenever there is a leading constitutional case before the Malaysian courts, there will be reference to the leading case law authorities involving Stephen Kalong Ningkan or bearing his name.

His cases are standard text book material on Malaysian constitutional law. A most recent example was the recent constitutional crisis in Perak last year, where the Malaysian Courts had to decide whether the legal Menteri Besar is Nizar or Zambry.

Yet few people know or appreciate this statesman of Sarawak and Malaysia who fought a lonely battle in the face of overwhelming odds and had a never-say-die spirit even when the odds were heavily stacked against him.

History is fraught with stories of men who never give up no matter how great the odds against them. I hope that my maiden articles the last three weeks will revive your memory of him and make him a less forgotten hero of Borneo and Malaysia. Have a productive week.

 

斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘的传奇 - 结论

 2010年4月26日,星期一 马塞尔裘德约瑟夫

上周,我们研究了砂拉越的宪法危机,包括斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘,用五封信表达。

1966年6月16日,砂捞越州元首收到了砂立法议会内部21名成员签署的一封信,其中提到不再对作为首席部长的斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘有信心。

因此,总砂元首于6月16日写道,他从收到的陈述中得知,宁甘已不再获得立法议会的信任,并要求宁甘辞职。

宁甘在6月17日的答复中告知砂元首,对于尼格里议员在他身上失去信心的看法没有得到6月14日立法议会会议的支持,他要求提供那些签署了信件的人名字。

元首在回复这封信的同时,通知宁甘,因为他拒绝接受辞职,元首宣布宁甘已经被停止任职,并任命塔维·斯利作为首席部长立即生效。总督还转发了一份名单,其中已经签署了代表。

宁甘在沙捞越高等法院开始诉讼,反对作为第一被告的元首和作为第二被告的Tawi Sli。

1966年9月7日,婆罗洲首席大法官哈雷法官就宁甘的诉讼做出了决定“沙捞越元首是否有权解雇首席部长?在考虑这个问题时,我们可以从“释义条例”第21条开始,其一般影响是,如果有权委任(并且元首有权委任首席部长,并无争议),则有权解雇。但是,如果任命“需经其他人批准,则解雇权只能在获得该另一人批准的情况下行使”。如果首席部长的任命需经立法议会批准,那么根据第21条的规定,解雇也需经其批准

哈雷法官说:“在砂拉越,首席部长的解雇完全超出了元首的权力,除非(a)首席部长失去了立法议会的信任,并且(b)首席部长拒绝辞职并且没有建议解散。

哈雷法官说:“我不认为沙捞越首席部长有合理的机会提出辞职或要求解散。在法院诉讼程序开始之前,他甚至从未出示解雇所依据的信件,尽管在解雇的那一刻,签署人名单已经发送给他,并且总督于6月17日发出了这封信。该名单和该信件的日期与原告在宪报刊登的同一日期一样,他们没有时间考虑这变动对他的重要性或影响。原告并没有拒绝辞职:他只是表示怀疑他是否已经不再获得多数票,并要求“将该事项纳入宪法检验程序”。

哈雷法官说:“我的任务只是解释宪法的文字。根据这种解释,说明中提出的案件是不可挑战的。原告将被作出判决。“

对Stephen Kalong Ningkan的判决。

结论

斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘终于赢了这一天。但胜利是短暂的。 

联邦政府随后宣布砂拉越进入紧急状态,合法地结束了宁甘作为沙捞越首席部长的统治。奇怪的是,宁甘被牺牲以确保马来西亚的生存。

宁甘向枢密院上诉,但每次都被驳回。在此之后,他的政治生涯陷入了遗忘,在沙捞越以外,即使他是沙捞越的第一任首席部长,他也几乎不为人所知或曾经提及过。即使在互联网上也很难找到他的图像。

然而,通过一种不同寻常的方式,他的名字终於得到了独特的恢复。每当任何学生学习或研究马来西亚的宪法,或者在马来西亚法院有一个相关的宪法案件时,就会提到涉及斯蒂芬卡隆宁甘的主要案件法律机构或以他的名字命名。

他的案件是关于马来西亚宪法的标准教科书材料。最近的一个例子是去年霹雳州最近的宪法危机,马来西亚法院必须决定合法的Menteri Besar是Nizar还是Zambry。

然而,很少有人知道或欣赏这位沙捞越和马来西亚的政治家,他面对极大的赔率进行了一次孤独的战斗,并且即使在对他不利的情况下也有一种永不言败的精神。

历史充满了男人的故事,他们永远不会放弃,无论对他们的赔率有多大。我希望过去三周我的首篇文章能够重新唤起你对他的记忆,让他成为婆罗洲和马来西亚不那么被遗忘的英雄。祝一周富有成效。

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