Speaker erred on four Sabah MPs, Bersatu to refer case to court, says Muhyiddin

Speaker erred on four Sabah MPs, Bersatu to refer case to court, says Muhyiddin
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 17): Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has disputed the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s decision that the four Sabah Members of Parliament formerly with Bersatu need not vacate their seats, saying the party will challenge the matter in court.   

“It is clear that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker has made a wrong interpretation of Article 49A (3) of the Federal Constitution, and in view that the power to interpret the Federal Constitution and the laws lies with the courts, Bersatu will refer the matter to the courts,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 17).

Muhyiddin said Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul’s decision was also based on his interpretation of Clause 10.2.3 of the Bersatu constitution, although Johari was not empowered to do so and had made a mistake in his decision.

Muhyiddin said that in a letter on Monday, Johari reasoned that going by this clause, the four MPs had become direct members of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) on Oct 27, and thus had been automatically stripped of their Bersatu membership then, before contesting in the 15th general election (GE15) on Nov 19.

“Clause 10.2.3 of the Bersatu constitution states that members will immediately lose their membership on joining any other political party.

“However, this clause does not apply to the four MPs because they were members of Bersatu, and the party was a founding component member of GRS at that time. Therefore, GRS cannot be classified as ‘another political party’ according to the spirit and form of this clause,” Muhyiddin added.

Apart from this, Muhyiddin said a letter dated Nov 3 from the Sabah Bersatu secretary clearly listed the four as GRS candidates from Bersatu.

He said the participation of the four MPs as direct members of GRS did not jeopardise their membership in Bersatu when contesting in the GE15, and this letter had been sent to Johari to help him make a decision.

“In the event of disagreement in interpreting Clause 10.2.3 of the Bersatu constitution, Clause 27 empowers the Bersatu supreme council to make the final interpretation.

“Therefore, in this matter, only the Bersatu supreme council can decide whether these four Dewan Rakyat members had automatically lost their membership when they joined GRS,” said Muhyiddin, who is also the Pagoh MP.

He said former Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor only announced their resignations from the party on Dec 10, and the action of “crossing the floor” by the four MPs also happened on Dec 19.

Muhyiddin said these two decisions caused them to lose their membership in Bersatu under Clauses 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 of the party constitution after the GE15.

On Dec 29, Bersatu vice president Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said he had sent a letter to the Speaker informing him that there were “casual vacancies” involving the four MPs, who had contested the GE15 as Bersatu members, as they had breached the anti-party hopping law.

The four MPs are Datuk Armizan Ali (Papar), Khairul Firdaus Akhbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Datuk Jonathan Yasin (Ranau), and Datuk Matbali Musah (Sipitang).

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