Penang welcomes Federal Court’s ruling on its anti-party-hopping law

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 3 — The Penang state government welcomed the Federal Court’s declaration that its anti-party-hopping law is constitutional and valid.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the decision was the desired outcome of the Penang state government’s application to determine the constitutionality of Article 14A of the Penang state constitution.

Chow was referring to a decision by the Federal Court earlier today that found “Article 14A of the Penang State Constitution is not void as it is not inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution”.

The decision was based on a legal question posed by Penang State Legislative Assembly (PSLA) and Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang on whether Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is void for being inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who chaired a seven-man bench, said in the decision that Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is consistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

This matter arose after four Penang state assemblymen filed an Originating Summons against the Penang State Assembly and State Assembly 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).

In light of the court decision, Chow said the state exco will discuss this matter on Friday.

“The Penang State Executive Council will meet on Friday to deliberate the next course of action,” he said in a statement today.

The four Penang state assemblymen — Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bersatu-Bertam), Zolkifli Md Lazim (Bersatu-Teluk Bahang), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Bersatu-Sungai Acheh) and Dr Afif Bahardin (Bersatu-Sebarang Jaya) — filed the suit after the state legislative assembly tried to table a motion against the four to vacate their seats.

The legislative assembly later agreed to defer the tabling of the motion pending the disposal of the suit.

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 join Bersatu.

Article 14A(1) of the state constitution 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.

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