GEORGE TOWN, August 8 – There should be an emergency special sitting for the Penang state Assembly to decide the fate of the status of the seats of two former PKR Assemblymen who were expelled from the party. This follows the landmark Federal Court decision on Wednesday in favour of the constitutional validity of Penang’s anti-hopping law made in 2012.
Thereby over-ruling the previous 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the Nordin Saleh’s precedent case said DAP National Chairman and MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng. The seven-person bench chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat had made the unanimous ruling that Section 14A of the Penang state constitution is legal and constitutional in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
Until the amendments to the Federal Constitution banning anti-hopping by individual MPs is gazetted, section 14A of the Penang state constitution is valid and should be enforceable. Article 14A of the Penang state constitution amended in 2012, provides that a member of the legislative assembly shall vacate his seat if having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from or ceases to be a member of the party.
Section 14A would exclude the two Bersatu Assemblymen Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang) because they had contested as Bersatu members even though they had used the PKR logo. However, the two former PKR assemblymen – Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya) and Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh) are caught by Section 14A after they ceased to be PKR members following their expulsion for betraying the party.
Since the new amendments to the Federal Constitution has still not been gazetted, the Federal Court ruling effectively means that Section 14A is covered with the force of law and should be applied on the two former PKR state Assemblymen. A special emergency State Assembly sitting should be held to decide this matter since the question of constitutionality has been disposed of and should be exercised in accordance with the people’s wishes.
This new Federal Court ruling will be welcomed by all who wish to see clean politics cleansed from opportunists who are willing to betray the mandate given by their voters by hopping to another political party for positions and personal benefit. The people of Penang would like to see the historic implementation to declare vacant the two PKR seats to give effect to the 2012 Penang constitutional amendment to witness the demise of political “frogs”.