KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul today said that the status of the four Members of Parliament (MPs) from Sabah who quit Bersatu remains unchanged for now and that their seats have not been left vacant.
He said he received the notice from Bersatu to confirm that there have been unexpected vacancies in the four parliamentary seats last Tuesday (Dec 27).
“(But) I have to really look into this first…the decision on the status of the four MPs will be announced after a period of 21 days,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.
This came after Bersatu vice president Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said in a statement today that the party had sent a notice to Dewan Rakyat about the unexpected vacancies of the four parliamentary seats, which were occupied by its former leaders.
He said it was done in accordance with Article 49A (3) of the Federal Constitution involving the four leaders who won the seats in the 15th General Election on the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) ticket.
Article 49A (3) of the Federal Constitution stated that whenever the Speaker receives a written notice from any members of the Dewan Rakyat on the occurrence of a casual vacancy among the members, the Speaker shall establish that there is such a casual vacancy and notify the Election Commission accordingly within 21 days from the date he received the written notice.
Ronald said during the special Dewan Rakyat sitting on Dec 19, the four MPs — Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali (Papar), Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Datuk Jonathan Yasin (Ranau) Matbali Musah (Sipitang) — were seated in the government bloc.
“Their action in joining the government bloc and not supporting Bersatu led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the president and Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin as the Opposition Leader was seen as crossing the floor and breaking the promises they made to the voters,” he said.
He said their memberships in Bersatu were terminated in accordance with the party constitution and they were notified of the matter through a letter dated Dec 21.
“Hence, according to Article 49A (3) of the Federal Constitution, the four MPs must cease to be members of the Dewan Rakyat and their seats much be vacated,” he said.
On December 10, former Sabah Bersatu leader Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor was reported to have said that Sabah Bersatu leaders had unanimously decided to quit Bersatu, but stay under the GRS.
Hajiji, who is also GRS chairman, said the decision was made after taking into account the country’s current political landscape, especially in Sabah, for the sake of the state and unity, as well as with the aim to fulfill the people’s wish and aspiration for them to fight and struggle under the auspices of a local party.