Three Penang assemblymen challenge motion to vacate seats

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 1): Penang state assemblymen Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq, Zolkifli Md Lazim and Zulkifli Ibrahim have filed a letter of demand (LOD) to challenge the state government's move to table a motion for them to vacate their seats. The assemblymen claimed that the proposal is unconstitutional.

Khaliq is the assemblyman for Bertam, while Zolkifli and Zulkifli represent Teluk Bahang and Sungai Acheh respectively.

It was reported that Khaliq and Zolkifli are members of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), while Zulkifli's membership with PKR had been suspended.

Penang is governed by the Pakatan Harapan alliance, which includes PKR.

Bersatu, which has left the Pakatan coalition, is now a component party of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance.

According to the LOD sighted by theedgemarkets.com, the letter dated between Sept 21 and yesterday was addressed to Penang Chief Minister (CM) Chow Kon Yeow.

Law firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership, representing Khaliq, Zolkifli and Zulkifli, claimed in the LOD that since July 2020, the Penang state government had been trying to victimise the assemblymen with the aim of making them vacate their State Legislative Assembly seats.

Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership claimed that the Penang state government's plan to table the motion based on Article 14A (1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang is unconstitutional as it goes against the Federal Constitution's Article 10(1)(C), which protects an individual’s freedom to form associations.

They further claimed that Article 14A (1) did not exist in Penang's State Constitution, and that the state's legal adviser had advised Lim Guan Eng, when he was the CM, to state that the amendment to include the article was invalid.

But Guan Eng went against the state legal adviser's advice, violating Article 6A(2)(b) of Penang's Constitution, they added.

According to the LOD, Chow is given between three and seven days to verify the Penang state government's intention to table the motion.

Chow reportedly wants to table the motion when the State Legislative Assembly meets this month.

If the motion proceeds in the assembly, Khaliq, Zolkifli and Zulkifli will take the necessary preventive actions to avoid the violation of their constitutional rights, according to the LOD.

In August 2020, news reports quoting Chow reported that state assemblymen who contested and won the last general election under the Pakatan ticket must vacate their seats if they no longer support the Pakatan leadership.

It was reported that he said Article 14A (1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang clearly states that a state assemblyman should vacate his seat if he resigns, is stripped of his membership, ceases from being a politician or is chosen as a candidate by another political party.

“The action of a few state assemblymen in not vacating their seats after choosing not to be with Pakatan goes against the state’s constitution,” Bernama quoted Chow as telling reporters then.

Read also:
Penang Assemblymen who leave PH must vacate seats — Chow

Chong Jin Hun