Penang CM, assemblymen enter into consent orders

(The Edge) – Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and four Penang assemblymen today entered into consent orders whereby the four agree to withdraw their injunction applications while the state agrees to withdraw the motion to have them vacate their seats scheduled to be heard in the state assembly seating between Oct 12 and 19.

In addition, Chow gave an undertaking that the state would give 14 days’ notice if the state decides to file and table a similar motion on them.

The case was heard before two separate High Court judges, namely Judicial Commissioner Datuk Amarjeet Singh and Judicial Commissioner Wong Chok Hong, who recorded the consent orders.

The four assemblymen, namely Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Zolkifly Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang) and Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) had their applications for an injunction heard against the state from tabling any motion to vacate their seats after they switched sides and became opposition.

Following the consent orders, the four agreed to withdraw the injunction applications with no order as to costs.

They were represented by counsels who came from Kuala Lumpur — Rosli Dahlan, Chetan Jethwani and Leonard De Cruz — with other Penang solicitors while the Penang chief minister and Speaker of Penang state assembly were represented by state legal adviser Datuk Norazmi Nawawi, assistant state legal adviser Naizatul Zuma and Noradlin Jaafar.

Rosli confirmed today’s outcome with

It is understood that the parties are still discussing whether there is a need to proceed with the main originating  summons which deals with the constitutionality of Article 14A (1) of the Penang Constitution, which they said to be ultra vires Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 14A (1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang (Amendment) Enactment 2012 states that a member of the assembly shall vacate his seat if he has been elected as a candidate of a political party, has resigned or been expelled from or ceases for any reason whatsoever to be a member of that party, or has been elected as an independent but later joins a political party.

Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution, however, guarantees that Malaysians have the freedom of association.

Yesterday, Chow announced that the state would not proceed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Having seen the adverse effects from the recently concluded Sabah state election, [after which] drastic spikes of Covid-19 infections were recorded across the nation and after much deliberation on untoward consequences, the Penang government stands guided by our paramount consideration that during this challenging time, public health and safety must come first.”

Norazmi confirmed that when the motion is called up at next Monday’s sitting, the state government will propose for the motion to be withdrawn.

In court documents sighted by, the state assemblymen cited various reasons to prevent the said motion from being tabled at the next legislative assembly meeting scheduled to be held next Monday, including the risk of Covid-19 infections since the passing of the motion will lead to a state election of Penang within 60 days.

The assemblymen stressed that this would pose a severe health risk to the public especially in light of the recent spikes in local Covid-19 cases following the Sabah state election, and that an interim injunction is needed to stop the motion in the wider public interest.