We didn’t hop parties, Penang assemblymen tell CM

Bertam assemblyman Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (left) and Telok Bahang assemblyman Zolkifly Md Lazim say they remain with PPBM.

GEORGE TOWN: Two PPBM reps facing action by the state to remove them as assemblymen said Penang’s anti-hopping law should not affect them as they were still party members.

Bertam assemblyman Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq said the anti-hopping law was meant to penalise those who jumped parties, not those who remained in the same party.

“The state anti-hopping law does not apply to me. Pakatan Harapan is a coalition and not a party. And I am still a PPBM member and an assemblyman under that party,” he told FMT.

Khaliq, who is a practising lawyer, said if the Penang government wanted to follow through with its motion to vacate his position, based on his support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, he would challenge it in court.

His fellow PPBM party member, Telok Bahang assemblyman Zolkifly Md Lazim, also echoed what Khaliq said.

“Why vacate my seat when I am still a PPBM member?”

Another rep, Seberang Jaya assemblyman Afif Bahardin, has been suspended as a PKR member but is known to support Perikatan Nasional.

Afif was unavailable for comment as he is recuperating from a bicycle accident.

Today, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said a motion to vacate the seats of the three assemblymen had been unanimously decided by the Penang Pakatan Harapan leadership.

He said the three reps would be deemed to be opposition members from now on.

Chow said their removal as assembly members came under Article 14(a) of the Penang Constitution, which allowed the assembly to vacate seats of members who changed parties.

He said their removal will be put to a vote at the next state assembly sitting, which is expected to be held in the final quarter of the year.

The change in allegiance by the two reps now does not change the super-majority status that PH enjoys in the Penang assembly. The coalition has 34 seats, with DAP holding 19, PKR 13 and Amanah two.

These figures take into account that Afif has aligned himself to PN.

Umno and PPBM now each have two seats, with PAS holding one seat. Overall, PN has six seats in the opposition bench.

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