Penang mulls by-elections in 2 PPBM-held seats

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says he told Yang di-Pertua Negeri Abdul Rahman Abbas the situation in Penang is ‘very stable’.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang may call two by-elections with the departure of PPBM from Pakatan Harapan, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said, as it deems the Teluk Bahang and Bertam seats previously held by the party vacant under the state’s 2012 anti-hopping law.

He said PPBM’s Khalib Mehtab Mohd Ishaq had contested the Bertam seat and Zulkifly Md Lazim the Teluk Bahang seat under under the Pakatan Harapan ticket in the 2018 general election.

Otherwise, Chow said, the political uncertainty does not affect the state assembly where DAP holds 19 of the 40 seats, PKR 14 and Amanah two. The other seats are held by PPBM (two), Umno (two) and PAS (one).

Speaking after paying a courtesy call on Yang di-Pertua Negeri Abdul Rahman Abbas today, Chow said he had discussed the issue with the state legal adviser.

He said he briefed Rahman on the political situation during the 20-minute meeting and told him the situation in Penang is “very stable”.

Penang is the only state to have passed an anti-hopping enactment. Article 14(A)(1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang (Amendment) Enactment 2012 states that a member of the assembly shall vacate his seat if:

  • Having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from or ceases for any reasons whatsoever to be a member of that party or
  • Having been elected as an independent the member later joins a political party.

Chow said it it was the duty of the state government and assembly speaker to inform the Election Commission about the two vacant seats and call for by-elections.

PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin had announced yesterday the party was leaving PH, following political developments which saw Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigning as the prime minister and later as PPBM chairman.

Mahathir was later appointed as interim prime minister.