GEORGE TOWN — State assemblymen who contested and won the last General Election under Pakatan Harapan (PH) must vacate their seats if they no longer support the PH leadership, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who is also the state PH chairman.
He said Article 14A (1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang clearly stated that a state assemblyman should vacate his seat after he resigns, is stripped of his membership, ceases from being a politician or is chosen as a candidate by another political party.
“The action of a few state assemblymen in not vacating their seats after choosing not to be with PH goes against the state’s constitution,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.
He said this in reply to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who had said that Penang, which is governed by the opposition, should get rid of the four assemblymen (who left the coalition) according to the state’s anti-hopping law if it really wanted the law to be implemented at the federal level.
Takiyuddin, when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address on Monday (Aug 10), had said that Article 10(1) clearly stated an individual’s freedom to form associations and that “if the Federal Constitution (Article 10(1)(C)) does not allow all citizens to form associations, only then can we enact a law concerning party-hopping individuals”.
However, Chow said the Penang State Government Council meeting had decided to proceed with the tabling of the motion in the State Legislative Assembly, which is scheduled to convene in October, to declare vacant the seats of the affected assemblymen.
He said the tabling of the motion was the state government’s initiative based on the principles of democracy to enable assemblymen to debate before any decision is reached.
“If the motion is passed, then Article 14A (4) provides for the speaker to inform the Election Commission (EC) of the vacancies so that by-elections can be held,” he said.
Chow, who is also the Padang Kota assemblyman, said he would discuss the political and legal aspects of the matter with state legal advisors before tabling the motion.
The four assemblymen who announced that they have lost faith in the leadership of PH were Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifli Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang), both from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu); and Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya) and Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), whose memberships with PKR were suspended.