Muhyiddin: Speaker erred in letting GRS MPs keep their seats

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Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul made a wrong decision in allowing the four Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) MPs to keep their seats, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Bersatu president said Johari had misinterpreted the party constitution, which led in turn to a mistaken declaration that the four MPs did not have to vacate their seats under the anti-hopping law as stipulated by Article 49A (3) of the Federal Constitution.

“Johari claimed that the four (MPs) had become direct members of GRS on Oct 27 and were no longer Bersatu members when they contested in GE15 on Nov 19,” Muhyiddin said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 17).

“Johari claimed that based on his interpretation of Clause 10.2.3 of the Bersatu constitution, the four had lost their Bersatu membership by becoming direct members of GRS, which is wrong.

“This is because Bersatu was still one of the founding and component members of GRS, meaning (we) should not be interpreted as ‘another political party’, at the time of the election.

“As such their inclusion as direct members of GRS had not affected their status as Bersatu members yet.”

The four MPs are Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali (Papar), Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Datuk Matbali Musah (Sipitang) and Datuk Jonathan Yassin (Ranau).

Armizan told the press on Monday (Jan 16) that Johari had copied them in an email to Bersatu.

“I cannot release the content of the email but all I can say is that there is no need for us to vacate our seats,” he said when contacted.

Muhyiddin, who is also Perikatan Nasional chairman, said Johari did not have the authority or power to interpret Bersatu’s constitution, as that power only belonged to Bersatu’s supreme council.

“Based on Clause 27 of the Bersatu constitution, only the council has the final authority on any interpretation of our party’s constitution.

“Therefore, only the council can decide if the four members of the Dewan Rakyat had lost their membership when they joined GRS on Oct 27 – not Johari,” he stressed.

Muhyiddin noted that former Sabah Bersatu head Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, the GRS chairman and Sabah Chief Minister, only officially left the party on Dec 10.

He said the four MPs concerned officially crossed the floor of the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 19, resulting in their membership being revoked.

On Dec 29, Bersatu vice-president Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee wrote to Johari, requesting that the four MPs’ seats be vacated as they had violated the Federal anti-party hopping law. – The Star