PETALING JAYA: The Penang High Court has thrown out a suit by four assemblymen against the Penang legislative assembly and its Speaker over a motion compelling them to vacate their seats.
Judicial commissioner Azizan Arshad said he was bound by last year’s Federal Court ruling that affirmed the constitutionality of the state’s anti-hopping provision contained in Article 14A of the state’s constitution.
Azizan also ruled that he did not have the power to invalidate a motion by the defendants against the plaintiffs, Bersatu’s Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang).
“That comes under the jurisdiction of the state legislature,” he said.
Azizan also said the court cannot grant an injunction against the defendants to prevent them from debating the motion during a state legislative assembly meeting.
“The judiciary cannot prevent the defendants (the state legislature and its Speaker) from using the powers granted to them under the state constitution,” he said, adding that he is mindful of the separation of powers among government branches.
The four plaintiffs filed three writs of summons in 2020 against the state legislative assembly and its Speaker Law Choo Kiang to challenge a motion introduced in October 2020 for them to vacate their seats and for by-elections to be held.
Lawyer Chetan Jethwani represented the assemblymen while A Surendra Ananth appeared for the state assembly and its Speaker.