Penang assembly votes to vacate four seats, former reps told to leave chamber

(From left) Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam), Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh) (wearing sunglasses) and Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), who were told to leave the state legislative assembly building after being vacated from their posts as assemblymen, walking out of the building along Light Street, in George Town, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: A motion was approved in the Penang state legislative assembly to vacate four assemblymen from their seats as the first order of the sitting.

The acrimonious debate was made to vacate the seats of the four - Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang).

ALSO READ: Commotion at Penang state assembly as motion to vacate for seats tabled

State Legislative Assembly speaker Law Choo Kiang said that as the majority had voted "yes", they would have to leave the building.

Their status has been left hanging since the Sheraton move in 2020 after the four became part of Perikatan Nasional.

Zulkifli and Dr Afif won their seats on PKR tickets but joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia while Khaliq Mehtab and Zolkifly are still with Bersatu, which they were elected under.

Earlier, Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the decision made in the state assembly was in line with Article 14A(1) of the Penang State.

ALSO READ: Penang Perikatan cries foul over decision to vacate four Bersatu seats

"The decision as to disqualification, based on the article is that a state assemblyman 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 another political party.

"If any question arises if a member of the state assembly has done so and a decision by the state assembly has been taken, it will be final," he said during the first day of the meeting held at the state assembly building in Light Street, George Town Penang on Monday (March 6).

Ahmad Zakiyuddin (Pinang Tunggal) said based on the decision by the Federal Court, Penang's anti-party hopping enactment is constitutional.

"The Federal Court agreed that Article 14A of the Penang State Constitution is consistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

"They withdrew their support for the political party (Pakatan Harapan) that they contested under when elected, which falls under the context of the article," he said.

On Thursday (March 2), the High Court dismissed the four assemblymen’s application for an injunction to prevent the Penang state assembly from tabling a motion to vacate the seats until their appeal is heard.

Judicial Commissioner Azizan Md Arshad ruled that the courts had no power to interfere with the internal management of Parliament or any State Legislative Assembly.

He said the courts must always give recognition to the doctrine of separation of powers.

In 2020 the four assemblymen filed the suit to challenge the constitutionality of Article 14A(1) of the Penang State Constitution (PSC) and to stop their seats from being declared vacant, pursuant to Article 14A(1) but the Federal Court found that it was in line with the constitution.

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Penang , State Assembly , Vacate , Seats , Four


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