Penang assemblymen who left Pakatan went against state constitution, says Chow

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference at Komtar in George Town August 12, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a press conference at Komtar in George Town August 12, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 12 — The assemblymen who contested under Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) ticket and won in the last general election must vacate their seats following their defection from the coalition, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said Article 14A(1) of the state constitution is clear that any elected assemblyman shall vacate their seats if they are sacked from or have left the party they had contested under.

“The fact that the assemblymen did not vacate their seats when they defected from PH meant that they have done something unconstitutional,” he said during a press conference at his office today.

He said the state government will pursue this by drafting a motion to be passed at the legislative assembly this October.

He said the state will have to consider all legal and political opinions before drafting the final motion to be tabled at the legislative assembly.

“The legislative assembly is in October and we have 14 days’ notice before the date so we have about a month-plus to finalise the motion to bring it to the House for a decision,” he said.

He said the state will take note of any opinions by the state legal advisor regarding the motion.

“We want to frame the motion in the best way to capture the spirit of the state constitution while taking into account the precedent court case in 1992 by Nordin Salleh against the Kelantan state assembly,” he said.

The then Supreme Court had declared that the amendment to the Kelantan constitution that prohibited party-hopping was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution, a provision that allows freedom of association.

Chow said it is time to revisit the decision made by the Supreme Court then for the sake of the future of all Malaysians.

“We will table the motion for the assemblymen to vacate the seats to enable by-elections for the vacated seats,” he said.

*Editor’s note: An earlier version erroneously reported the motion as a Bill and has since been corrected. Malay Mail apologises for the confusion.

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