Penang High Court dismisses application by four reps to amend suit against state assembly

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 6 — The Penang High Court has dismissed an application by four state assemblymen to amend their originating summons (OS) against the Penang State Assembly and its Speaker.

Judicial Commissioner Azizan Md Arshad, in a decision sent via email to both parties in the suit, dismissed the application with no order to costs.

He said the amendment would change the whole character of the OS.

“Even if there is no bad intention, but the action to make the application in stages is not justified,” he wrote in his grounds for the decision.

“If this is allowed at this stage, what guarantee does the court have for the parties to come forward to make amendments involving other Articles in the Federal Constitution,” he added.

He said the subject matter of the applications to amend the OS falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Court.

“The Federal Court has the authority to rule on these constitutional issues,” he said.

He said this is because the amendments by the plaintiffs touched on the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

The four assemblymen, through their lawyer, filed an application to amend the OS based on the grounds that the state’s anti-hopping law is in violation of their freedom of speech under Section 10 (1) A of the Federal Constitution.

The four state assemblymen are Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang).

They had initially filed three separate OS against the Penang State Assembly and its Speaker to challenge the constitutionality of Article 14A(1) of the Penang State Constitution, and to stop the four seats concerned from being declared vacant pursuant to Article 14A(1).

Article 14A of the Constitution of the State of Penang stipulated that a member of the state legislative assembly shall vacate his seat if having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from a party or having been elected otherwise than as a candidate of a political party, he joins a political party.

Zulkifli and Dr Afif, who were both elected under PKR, were terminated from PKR, while Khaliq Mehtab and Zolkifly are still in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, under which they were elected.

In August, the Federal Court decided that Article 14A of the state Constitution was consistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

Due to the case still being heard in courts, the defendants have agreed, in a consent judgment, to temporarily hold on from tabling the motions for the four to vacate their seats.

Azizan said the court only decides on the application based on the affidavit and arguments that are before the court without considering other factors.

“At this stage, the court does not make any means or speculation as to what the parties’ next actions will be,” he added.

He also said the amendment to the Federal Constitution related to Article 10 came into force on October 5.