Penang CM says no to special sitting of state assembly on party hoppers, leaves reps’ fate to High Court

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 5 ― The Penang government will not hold a special sitting to amend the Penang state constitution as Article 14A was already declared constitutional, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

He said the Penang state executive council decided in its meeting this morning that it will instruct state solicitors to write to the High Court and seek an early hearing date for the three originating summons filed by the Seberang Jaya, Sungai Acheh, Bertam and Telok Bahang assemblymen.

“As the proceedings at the High Court were earlier put on hold pending the determination by the Federal Court, parties would now need to appear before the High Court for the originating summons to continue and/or be disposed in accordance with the Federal Court’s unanimous decision and otherwise according to law,” Chow said in a statement.

He said any decision made by the High Court shall be part of the process in declaring the affected seats vacant.

“The Penang state government remains resolute in upholding the voters’ mandate, and elected representatives must be held accountable for actions contrary to the given mandate,” he added.

The four assemblymen, Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam), Zolkifli Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh) and Dr Afif Bahardin (Sebarang Jaya) took their case to court in late 2020 after the legislative assembly tried to table a motion to declare their seats vacant.

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.

On Wednesday, the Federal Court declared Article 14A of the Penang state constitution a valid law and is consistent with 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.

Yesterday, the four, in a statement, asked the state to withdraw the motion entirely.

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