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 – Armizan Mohd Ali, Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, Matbali Musah, and 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.
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, Johari reportedly said that there were “many things” to look into, including the provision of certain laws and procedures.
In his letter to Johari, 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.
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 Muhyiddin Yassin earlier in December.
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 Anwar.