PUTRAJAYA (May 30): The Federal Court has fixed Aug 3 to hear a referral brought by the Penang government over the constitutionality of the state's anti-hopping law involving political parties.
The counsel for the Penang state legislative assembly speaker and the state government, Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, when contacted by theedgemarkets.com confirmed the apex court hearing date.
On April 12, Penang High Court judicial commissioner Azizan Md Arshad ruled in his broad grounds that the question of law posed by the Penang state legislative assembly speaker and the Penang assembly — the defendants in the case — fulfilled conditions under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (CJA) and Article 128 of the Federal Constitution.
The solitary question posed to the apex court is "whether Article 14A of the State Constitution of Penang is void for being inconsistent with Article 10(c) of the Federal Constitution".
The matter follows four Penang assemblymen, namely Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bersatu-Bertam), Zolkifli Md Lazim (Bersatu-Teluk Bahang), Zulkifli Ibrahim (Bersatu-Sungai Acheh) and Dr Afif Bahardin (Bersatu-Sebarang Jaya), having left the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia left the PH coalition on Feb 26 resulting in Khaliq and Zolkifli not being part of the ruling state government, while Zulkifli and Dr Afif were previously from PKR before moving to Bersatu.
Article 14A of the Penang State Constitution states that a state assemblyman should vacate his seat if he resigns, is stripped of his membership, ceases being a politician or is chosen as a candidate by another political party.
The Penang state legislative assembly previously tried to table the motion against the four, but agreed to defer the tabling of the motion pending the disposal of the suit filed by them to prevent the Penang state legislative assembly from declaring their seats as vacant.
Article 10(c) of the Federal Constitution refers to all citizens' rights to form associations.