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Malaysia’s speaker of parliament to rule on status of ex-Sabah Bersatu MPs

Malaysia’s speaker of parliament to rule on status of ex-Sabah Bersatu MPs
Newly-appointed Malaysia Parliament Speaker Johari Abdul after being sworn in on Dec 19, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s newly-appointed Speaker of Parliament Johari Abdul on Thursday (Dec 29) confirmed that he has received a letter from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) which alleged that four of its former lawmakers had vacated their seats in the state of Sabah.

This after the four – Mr Armizan Mohd Ali, Mr Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, Mr Matbali Musah and Mr Jonathan Yassin – had contested and won the 15th General Election (GE15) on Nov 19 under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition as Bersatu members.  

At the first parliament session on Dec 19 and Dec 20, the four were seated with the government bloc under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Johari was quoted as saying by The Star that he had received the notice from Bersatu vice-president Ronald Kiandee on Tuesday, and will look into the matter accordingly.

When contacted by The Star, Mr Johari reportedly said that there were “many things” to look into, including the provision of certain laws and procedures.

In his letter to Mr Johari, Mr Kiandee said that Bersatu is seeking to boot the four lawmakers under the anti-hopping law provided under Article 49(A) (3) of the Federal Constitution.

Article 49A states that a member of a political party who was elected to Parliament shall cease to be a member of the House of Representatives and that member’s seat shall become vacant immediately if such a member resigns his or her party membership or ceases to be a member.

Mr Kiandee stressed that the four lawmakers were members of Bersatu when they contested the Nov 19 general election.

However, the four were part of a group – which includes Sabah’s Chief Minister Hajiji Noor – who quit the party led by Mr Muhyiddin Yassin earlier in December.

Mr Hajiji, in a statement on Dec 10, said that the party members have made the “unanimous decision” to leave Bersatu after they had considered the country’s political landscape as well as the King’s decree for the formation of a unity government under Mr Anwar. 

Mr Kiandee, in a Facebook statement on Thursday, said that the four lawmakers are no longer Bersatu members, and that they have been notified of that development through a letter dated Dec 21.

“We have also requested the Speaker of Parliament for this (cessation) to be informed to the Election Commission in 21 days from the date the written notice was received so that the election process can be facilitated to fill the vacancies," wrote Mr Kiandee. 

The vacancies will then have to be filled within 60 days from the date the Election Commission receives the notification from Mr Johari.

The Malaysian Insight had previously reported that Mr Armizan – who is now a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak affairs – had said that the GRS had provisions in its constitution for individuals to be direct members.

He also stressed that he had joined GRS as a “direct member” in October before the general election, and thus, his position as a Member of Parliament was not affected by Malaysia’s anti-hopping law.

The anti-hopping law – a constitutional amendment which came into force on Oct 5 – was first mooted as a bipartisan response to the “Sheraton Move” in 2020 which saw the collapse of the then-Pakatan Harapan government.

At the first parliament session on Dec 19, Mr Anwar secured a vote of confidence as the country’s top leader, confirming the legitimacy of his leadership and the unity government he leads. The vote of confidence was done via a voice vote only, with no call for a bloc vote.

Source: Agencies/as(ih)


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