Why is Pakatan Harapan circumventing democracy?

Pakatan Harapan’s commitment to democracy must be scrutinized. Incremental moves circumventing democracy quickly add up. These are dangerous precedents for the future of Malaysian society.

Murray Hunter

The recent expulsion of four Bersatu representatives from the Penang State Assembly, was made against the spirit of the anti-hopping laws, and was just a cheap partisan political move to discredit Bersatu.

Khaliq Mehtab Ishaq (Bertam), Zolkifly Lazim (Teluk Bahang), Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), and Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungei Acheh) were removed from their assembly seats by a vote in the assemble, which followed party lines.

Both Afif and Zulkifli were sacked from PKR and joined Bersatu before the anti-hoping laws were enacted. Thus, the law has been used retrospectively.

Who will look after vacant constituency citizens should there be any mishaps?

All four assemblymen won their seats under the PKR party logo, a decision made at the time for campaigning convenience for members of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, when Bersatu was a member. Bersatu left the PH coalition after the February 20, 2020 Sheraton Putsch, where all four assemblymen remained within their party Bersatu.

This runs contrary to the intention and spirit of the anti-hopping laws. The vote to make the four seats vacant was a partisan political move, just a few months before a new state election must be held. This leaves the four seats in Penang unrepresented by a local member to assist citizens, and a total disregard for the welfare of Penang citizens.

Article 14A of the state constitution states ‘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’.

The proposers of the motion to remove the four assemblymen, Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (PH-Pinang Tunggal) and seconded by the State Housing, Local Government, Rural and Town Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo (PH-Datuk Keramat), have totally disrespected the spirit of democracy and citizens’ right to representation.

This action shows up the weakness of the anti-hopping laws as the author wrote about last year.