Guan Eng seeks special sitting of Penang assembly to decide fate of ex-PKR duo after apex court ruling on state anti-hopping law

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 5 DAP lawmaker Lim Guan Eng is pushing for an emergency special sitting of the Penang legislative assembly to decide on the fate of two assemblymen who jumped from PKR to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia after the Federal Court’s landmark ruling on the state’s anti-party-hopping law.

Lim, who is Air Putih assemblyman, said Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya) and Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), are subject to the state’s anti-party-hopping law.

He pointed out that Article 14A of the Penang state constitution amended in 2012, provides that a member of the legislative assembly shall vacate his seat if having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from or ceases to be a member of the party.

“Section 14A would exclude the two Bersatu assemblymen Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang) because they had contested as Bersatu members even though they had used the PKR logo,” he said in a statement today.

“However, the two former PKR assemblymen Dr Afif and Zulkifli are caught by Section 14A after they ceased to be PKR members following their expulsion for betraying the party,” he added.

On Wednesday, the Federal Court declared that Section 14A of the Penang state constitution was a valid law and constitutional in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

“Until the amendments to the Federal Constitution banning anti-hopping by individual MPs is gazetted, Section 14A of the Penang state constitution is valid and should be enforceable,” Lim said.

He said the new amendments to the Federal Constitution have yet to be gazetted, so the state’s anti-party-hopping law should be applied on Dr Afif and Zulkilfi.

“A special emergency State Assembly sitting should be held to decide this matter since the question of constitutionality has been disposed of and should be exercised in accordance with the people’s wishes,” he said.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state executive council will meet today to decide on the next course of action.

The Penang state legislative assembly tried to table a motion against Khaliq, Zolkifli, Zulkifli and Dr Afif to vacate their seats.

The four had filed a suit against the legislative assembly and state Speaker so the legislative assembly agreed to defer the tabling of the motion pending the disposal of the suit.

The four had challenged the constitutionality of Section 14A of the Penang state constitution so the state legislative assembly and state Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang posed a legal question to the Federal Court on whether Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is void for being inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

The four were asked to vacate their seats as they were no longer under Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Bersatu left the PH coalition in 2020 which meant Khaliq and Zolkifli were no longer part of the ruling state government, while Zulkifli and Dr Afif were expelled from PKR before they subsequently joined Bersatu.

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