GEORGE TOWN: The four assemblymen who withdrew their support for the Penang state government in 2020 are allowed to carry out their usual duties as elected representatives in their respective constituencies, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said they would remain as elected representatives until the Penang High Court decides on the originating summons which they had filed against the state legislative assembly and state assembly speaker to prevent their seats from being vacated.

“As long as the High Court has not made its decision, they can carry on with their work and will receive their usual salary and benefits,“ he told reporters when met at Pantai Hospital ground breaking ceremony in Bayan Baru near here today.

When asked to comment on DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng’s proposal for a special state assembly sitting to be held to determine the status of the seats held by two former PKR assemblymen who were expelled from the party, Chow said the state government would decide on the matter after the High Court’s decision.

He added that any decision made by the High Court should be part of the process in declaring the affected seats vacant.

“We will follow whatever is applicable based on the unanimous decision of the Federal Court, Article 14A of the Penang state constitution is valid, constitutional and should remain as it is,“ he said.

Article 14A(1) of the Penang state constitution provides that a member of the legislative assembly shall vacate his seat if having been elected as a candidate of a political party, he resigns or is expelled from or ceases to be a member of the party.

In 2020, the four assemblymen Zulkifli Ibrahim (Sungai Acheh), Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya), Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Telok Bahang) had filed three originating sunmons against the Penang state assembly and state assembly speaker to challenge the constitutionality of Article 14A(1) of the Penang state constitution, and to stop the four seats concerned from being declared vacant pursuant to Article 14A(1).

The Penang State Assembly and Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang then posed a legal question to the Federal Court on whether Article 14A of the Penang State Constitution is void for being inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

The Federal Court, in its decision on Aug 3, ruled that Article 14A is not void, as it is not inconsistent with Article 10(1). - Bernama