PETALING JAYA: The Penang High Court has ruled that two former assemblymen from Bersatu did not lose their seats in the state legislature assembly as the state’s anti-hopping provisions did not apply to them.
Justice Anand Ponnudurai said Khaliq Mehtab Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Lazim (Teluk Bahang) remained members of the state assembly between May 2018 and June this year, and were entitled to all financial payments due to them until its dissolution.
Using the PKR logo does not make the two PKR members. They never left Bersatu. Thus, Article 14A does not apply to them, Anand said in a decision delivered online.
He said that as the decision to vacate their seats was without legislative basis, the matter was justiciable.
However, he dismissed a similar claim by Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh) and Dr Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), holding that Article 14A applied to their case.
They were correctly disqualified from the legislative assembly because they were expelled from PKR, said Anand.
The four had named Bukit Tambun assemblyman Law Choo Kiang, the state speaker during the period, and the legislative assembly as defendants.
A motion was proposed to the assembly by then deputy chief minister Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman in February under the state’s anti-hopping law passed in 2012.
Article 14A of the Penang state constitution says that an assemblyman shall vacate his seat if, having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from the party, or if having been elected otherwise than as a candidate of a political party, he joins a political party.
The four were removed as assembly members on March 6.
All four had contested under the PKR logo in the 2018 general election to be members of the legislative assembly.
After the 2020 Sheraton Move that led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan federal government in 2020, Khaliq and Zolkifly remained with Bersatu.
The other two reps were sacked from PKR without being allowed to defend themselves and joined Bersatu.
At the time, PH consisted of PKR, DAP, Amanah and Bersatu.
Lawyers Azhar Harun and Chetan Jethwani represented the four, while A Surendra Ananth appeared for Law and the state assembly.