Penang PH in bid to vacate seats of PN crossovers

Penang PH chairman and chief minister Chow Kon Yeow at a press conference in George Town today.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership council says it will push for a motion to declare vacant the seats of three assemblymen who switched camps to Perikatan Nasional (PN) earlier this year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow who is also state PH chairman said the order to vacate would be put to vote at the next state assembly sitting, in line with the anti-party hopping clause in the Penang constitution.

The three assemblymen are PPBM reps Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang) who recently pledged their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya) who has been suspended from PKR.

Speaking at a press conference here today, Chow acknowledged that the Federal Court had ruled against anti-hopping laws in the past but said a fresh case should be heard given the recent spate of defections.

Penang PH chairman and chief minister Chow Kon Yeow holding up Article 14(a) of the Penang constitution which declares party-hopping illegal. With him is state PKR chief Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.

“The spirit of the anti-hopping law in Penang was to ensure that parliamentary democracy is upheld.

“This would be an opportune time for the country and the courts to interpret this, in view of the political defections threatening parliamentary democracy, which have led to the fall of many governments both state and federal.”

If the motion to order the trio to vacate their seats received the majority support of the assembly, he added, they should resign.

“The speaker can also declare the seats as vacant. If the vacancy occurs two years before the next election, then a by-election must be held for these seats,” he said.

The next general election must be held by May 9, 2023.

Separately, Chow said the trio had lost their rights, benefits and allocations as assemblymen on the government bench with immediate effect.

He said they would instead be entitled to benefits as an opposition member.

He said the management of government matters in their areas would be taken over by Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakthiar Wan Chik for Telok Bahang; Deputy Chief Minister Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (Bertam); and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (Seberang Jaya).

Chow also said the state PH leadership would recognise Penang PPBM but not the central party leadership which he said had left the PH coalition.

“The state PH leadership has agreed to keep the PH-PPBM formula where all PPBM members who support the PH state government will be considered to be still aligned with PH.”

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