Penang will amend state constitution to align with anti-hopping law, says CM

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will amend its state constitution to be consistent with the amended Federal Constitution after the anti-hopping law was passed in Parliament.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he was humbled to be part of the historic moment in which 209 MPs present in the August House voted in favour of amending Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution to prevent party hopping among parliamentarians.

“Given this monumental decision, Penang intends to amend our state constitution accordingly for the relevant provisions to remain consistent with the amended Federal Constitution.

“The state’s legal adviser has been directed to assist in this matter,” he said in a statement Friday (July 29).

Chow said Penang will hold a special state assembly sitting to table the necessary amendments.

ALSO READ: Federal Court fixes Aug 3 to hear constitutionality of Penang’s anti-hopping law

He said, however, that the Federal Court has fixed Aug 3 to hear the state assembly and its Speaker’s referral bid over the constitutionality of its anti-party hopping enactment.

On April 12, Judicial Commissioner Azizan Md Arshad allowed an application by the state assembly and Speaker to refer questions to the Federal Court for the apex court to hear and decide on the constitutionality of Penang’s anti-party hopping enactment.

The state assembly and its speaker want the Federal Court to decide on the question of whether or not Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

ALSO READ: Penang govt to declare two Bersatu state seats vacant

Perikatan Nasional assemblymen Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam), and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang) had filed three writs of summons in 2020 against the state assembly and Speaker to challenge a motion introduced in October 2020 for the four to vacate their seats and by-elections held.

Article 14A of the Penang state constitution states that an 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 a political party.

ALSO READ: Anti-party hopping Bill passed in Dewan Rakyat with two-thirds majority

On Thursday (July 28), the Dewan Rakyat voted with a resounding yes to pass the anti-hopping law which will be ready for use before the general election.

“All MPs in the House voted for the law, all 100% of them.

“No one opposed it,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told a press conference in Parliament’s media centre after the vote.