Are these Sabah MPs disqualified? Law experts weigh in on GRS exodus from Bersatu and the anti-party hopping law

There has been great buzz over the weekend surrounding Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor’s announcement of a mass exodus of lawmakers at both state and federal level from Bersatu, spurring speculations on whether or not another election would be called before the dust has even settled down from the November 19 national polls.

(MMO) – To clear the air on this matter, Malay Mail spoke to law experts familiar with Malaysia’s Constitution, including the newest legislation to prevent party jumping.

No violation of Article 49A

According to Sabah-based constitutional lawyer Datuk Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, there has been no violation of Article 49A of the Federal Constitution, better known as the anti-party hopping law provision.

The reason is because the six Sabah MPs in the spotlight who won in the recently-ended 15th general election had contested directly under the banner of Sabah Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and not as candidates of any of the coalition’s components.

GRS consists of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), Sabah Progressive Party(SAPP), Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), United Sabah National Organisation (Usno), and before Hajiji’s shockwave announcement, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia better known as Bersatu.

“GRS here is a party under whose logo the MPs contested and is the political party to which they were elected,” Tengku Fuad told Malay Mail when contacted yesterday.

He explained that the provision refers to a person elected “as a member of a political party” based on the symbol or logo of the party used on the ballot paper.

In this case, the symbol of GRS, which is the outline of Mount Kinabalu and the party letters within.

“Accordingly, Article 49A of the Federal Constitution does not apply. There is no disqualification of the four GRS MPs,” Tengku Fuad said.

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