GEORGE TOWN, Jan 20 — The High Court here dismissed today the lawsuits by four assemblymen against the state Speaker and Penang legislative assembly over the motion for them to vacate their seats.

Judicial commissioner Azizan Md Arshad dismissed the applications by the four assemblymen with no order as to costs.

“The Federal Court has already decided that Section 14A of the state constitution is valid so this court is bound by that decision,” he said when delivering his decision today.

As for the application by the plaintiffs that the motion against them was wrong, he said the court cannot make a decision as the matter is under the jurisdiction of the state legislative assembly.

He also said the court could not grant an injunction against the defendants to prevent them from discussing the motion to ask the plaintiffs to vacate their seats during the state legislative assembly.

“The court cannot prevent the defendants from using the powers granted them under the state constitution,” he said.

He also said the court cannot prevent the defendants from bringing any motions against the plaintiffs.

He said the court does not make any means or speculations on the next actions of the defendants and that all decisions are based on the affidavits submitted.

“The court cannot interfere and has no power on the internal management of the state legislative assembly,” he said when reading the grounds for his decision.

The plaintiffs are assemblymen Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang).

They had filed writs of summons in 2020 against the state legislative assembly and its speaker to challenge a motion by the legislative assembly in October 2020 for the four to vacate their seats and for by-elections to be held.

The motion was tabled under Article 14A of the Constitution of the State of Penang, which stipulated that a member of the state legislative assembly 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 a political party.

Zulkifli and Dr Afif, who were both elected under PKR but were expelled from the party while Khaliq Mehtab and Zolkifly are still in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, in which they were elected under.

Last year, the Federal Court decided that Article 14A of the state constitution was consistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

After Azizan delivered his decision, Chetan Jethwani, who represented all four assemblymen, told the court that they intended to appeal against the decision.

“We will also be submitting an application for an injunction to stop the defendants from tabling the motion until the disposal of this appeal,” he said.

Later, outside the courtroom, lawyer Surendra Ananth, representing the Penang state assembly and its speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang, said the consent judgement to temporarily put on hold the tabling of the motion for the four to vacate their seats ends today with the decision by the High Court.

However, he will discuss with his clients on their next course of action after this.

Chetan then said they will submit an appeal against the High Court’s decision next week after the Chinese New Year break.

“This is because we believe that the judge has made an error in his decision on this,” he said.

He said the question they are posing is whether Article 14A applies to the four assemblymen.

“The two Bersatu assemblymen never left the party, they are still in the party,” he said.

As for the two former PKR assemblymen, he said they did not leave the party but were expelled.

“Constitutional question aside, we respect the Federal Court’s decision on Article 14A but for the state legislative assembly to disqualify the assemblymen based on this Article, it doesn’t meet the criteria,” he said.

He said they have to file for a separate injunction with the same terms of the consent judgment until the disposal of the appeal so that the defendants do not go ahead with the tabling of the motion.