GEORGE TOWN, Sept 1 — Penang will not call for a special state legislative assembly sitting to amend the state constitution’s anti-hopping law, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
The Penang lawmaker stressed that the state’s anti-hopping law, Article 14A, will remain as it is without any amendment.
“With the greatest respect, the proposal is untenable and if acted upon, would surely constitute a great disservice to the Penang voters,” he said in a statement today.
He was responding to Air Putih assemblyman and DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng’s proposal for a special sitting tp be held at the end of September to amend the state’s anti-hopping law to be in line with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.
Chow pointed out that the Penang state executive council had already decided on August 5 for Article 14A of the state constitution to remain as it is and not to call for a special sitting to amend it.
“It is a fact that Article 14A provides for, among others, expulsion from one’s political party as a ground to vacate the Penang State Assembly seat(s) in question,”
“While expulsion is not provided for under the Amended Federal Constitution, we must remind ourselves that Article 14A was enacted and passed in its current form (expulsion included) with more than two-third majority in the Penang State Assembly way back in 2012,” he said.
He reminded Lim that the state constitution amendment to include the anti-hopping law was done at a time when everyone including Lim, was fully aware of the 1992 Supreme Court’s decision concerning one’s right to association under the then Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.
Chow said the Federal Court decision on August 3 that Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is no inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution illuminated an important position that an elected representative’s ability to change or have changed his membership of a political party does not go against his personal right to form associations as provided under Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.
“Lest we forget, the Penang State Assembly in 2012 made the decision to press ahead with Article 14A guided by our belief that Penang voters deserve a stable and credible state government that respects the given mandate,” he said.
“To now sing a different tune that compromises Article 14A, more so when our position is vindicated by the Federal Court’s unanimous decision, is short-changing everyone who believed in us,” he added.
Lim had issued several statements calling for a special sitting to be held to amend the state’s anti-hopping law to be in line with the recent amendment to Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution which prevents anti-hopping among Members of Parliament.
However, Chow had been adamant with the state exco’s decision not to call for a special sitting of the state legislative assembly as proposed by Lim.