Penang state assembly removes 4 Bersatu reps for party hopping

The four Bersatu assemblymen defected to Perikatan Nasional after winning their seats under Pakatan Harapan in GE14.

(FMT) – The Penang state legislative assembly has approved a motion to vacate the seats of four Bersatu assemblymen for party hopping.

The motion was tabled by the state’s deputy chief minister Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman. After some debate on the matter, the motion was passed with a voice vote.

Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin, Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Khaliq Mehtab Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Lazim (Teluk Bahang) won their seats in the 14th general election (GE14) on a Pakatan Harapan ticket.

They were all deemed to have “lost” their seats after Bersatu left PH – following the Sheraton Move in February 2020 – based on the anti-hopping provision contained in Article 14A of the state constitution.

Article 14A states that an assemblyman 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.

Penang state legislative assembly Speaker Law Choo Kiang had earlier brought forward the motion to be the first item on the agenda on the first day of the state assembly sitting.

Last Thursday, the High Court quashed the four Bersatu men’s application to stop the motion from being tabled, saying it had no power to interfere in the management of the state assembly.

With the four seats vacated, PAS’ Penaga assemblyman Yusni Mat Piah is now the sole Perikatan Nasional (PN) representative in the state assembly.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) holds 33 of the 40 seats in the state assembly, while Barisan Nasional (BN) has two seats.

There will be no by-elections to fill the four vacated seats as the state polls are due to take place within the next four months.