Aug 3, 2022
A SEVEN-MEMBER Federal Court bench, chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, has found that article 14A of the Penang state constitution is not void as it is consistent with article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.
“In our view, the respondent (the Penang state legislature) was entitled to enact the law to determine membership qualification,” Tengku Maimun said today.
Article 14A of the Penang state constitution states that a state assemblyman shall vacate his seat if having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from a party or having been elected otherwise than as a candidate of a political party, he joins another political party.
The Penang state assembly and its speaker wanted the apex court to decide on the question of whether article 14A of the state constitution is void as it was inconsistent with article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution on the constitutional right to freedom of association.
This was after four assemblymen – Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang) – had filed three writs of summons in 2020 against the state assembly and its speaker to challenge a motion introduced in October 2020 for the four to vacate their seats and by-elections to be held.
Zulkifli and Afif were sacked from PKR in 2020 while Khaliq and Zolkifly are members of Bersatu.
Last week, the Dewan Rakyat passed the anti-party hopping bill by division vote with more than two-thirds majority.
Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun said 209 lawmakers supported the bill while 11 were absent.