GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will table a motion in the next state assembly meeting to declare the seats of two Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia assemblymen vacant.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who is also state Pakatan Harapan chairman, said the move was in accordance with Section 14A of the Penang Constitution, which states that one must vacate his seat once he ceases to be a member of the party he represented during the polls.
The two Bersatu assemblymen – Zolkifly Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang) and Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) – were appointed as Mara Corp adviser and Penang Regional Development Authority chairman respectively. Their acceptance of the posts was proof of their support for Perikatan Nasional.
Chow said the state Constitution stated that the two must step down, failing which it could be done through a motion tabled in the assembly.
“If the motion is supported by the majority, then the Speaker can declare both seats as vacant, ” he told reporters at the Penang DAP headquarters yesterday.
Chow said the decision was made during a Pakatan Leadership Council meeting on Wednesday.
Bersatu, which is now part of the Perikatan government, was blamed for the collapse of the Pakatan Federal Government in February.
The party is split between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin with the former premier wanting Bersatu to return to Pakatan.
Chow said the Penang government would maintain the Pakatan and Bersatu formula as there were still Bersatu members who supported the present state government.
Asked if the motion was passed and the two assemblymen decided to bring the matter to court, Chow said it would be an opportune time to hear a fresh case although the Federal Government had ruled against anti-hopping laws in the past.
“It’s something for the court to decide. In Penang, we want to ensure that parliamentary democracy is upheld. The Speaker can declare the seats vacant if it occurs two years before the next general election where by-elections must be held, ” he said.
Of the 40 seats, the Pakatan-led government holds 35 seats – DAP (19), PKR (14) and Parti Amanah Negara (two). The Opposition has five seats – Bersatu (two), Umno (two) and PAS (one).
Chow said Khaliq Mehtab and Zolkifly would not be given allocations and privileges accorded to Pakatan assemblymen. He said the same applied to PKR’s Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin, whose party membership was still suspended.
Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik will take care of Teluk Bahang, while Deputy Chief Minister l Datuk Abdul Rahman Zakiyuddin and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar will look after Bertam and Seberang Jaya respectively.
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