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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lawyer tells why Jeli by-election won’t fly

Jeli MP Mustapa Mohamed, who joined PPBM last week after leaving Umno in September.
PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has shot down calls for Jeli MP Mustapa Mohamed to resign from his seat and contest again in a by-election after leaving Umno and joining PPBM, saying this would be against provisions in the Federal Constitution.
Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said according to Article 48 (6) of the constitution, an MP who vacates his or her public office is barred from contesting for the next five years.
“Mustapa cannot resign and contest again in a Jeli parliamentary by-election due to this provision in the law,” he told FMT.
Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong had suggested that Mustapa step down, noting that the former Umno Supreme Council member won his seat on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket in the May 9 polls.
Kua said any MP with good morals and integrity should vacate his or her seat upon leaving BN.
Mustapa, who left Umno last month, joined PPBM last Friday saying this would enable him to play a more effective role for the sake of his constituents.
Rafique, a PPBM lawyer, said it was unfair to label Mustapa as unethical as it was not proven that the Jeli electorate had voted for him due to his personal stature or their love for Umno or BN.
“He is legally entitled to leave BN as present law states that he has the right to freedom of association,” Rafique added.
He referred to the case of Nordin Salleh (Sungai Pinang) and Wan Mohamed Najib Wan Mohamaed (Limbongan) who won their state seats on the Semangat 46 ticket in the 1990 general election. Both of them defected to Umno in 1991.
The Kelantan state assembly amended the state constitution and passed an anti-hopping law that took retrospective effect from Nov 18, 1990. The speaker also declared the seats vacant.
Both Nordin and Wan Mohamed contested again in by-elections but lost. They sought legal remedy and the Supreme Court in 1992 held that the amendment to the state constitution was designed to enforce party discipline, not impose restrictions on state assemblymen.
The court ruled that the amendment breached Article 10 of the constitution which guarantees freedom of association, and the duo were reinstated as assemblymen. - Mkini

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