Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin says the party will go to court over the status of four MPs from Sabah who quit late last year, challenging the speaker's decision that they do not need to vacate their seats.
In a statement today, he said Bersatu had received a letter from the Dewan Rakyat speaker dated Jan 16, stating that the MPs need not vacate their seats as they were not members of the party while contesting the 15th general election (GE15).
"The reason given by the speaker is that the four MPs became direct members of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) on Oct 27.
"By interpreting Clause 10.2.3 of the Bersatu constitution, the speaker said that their Bersatu membership had immediately lapsed, before contesting GE15 on Nov 19."
But Muhyiddin said that Clause 10.2.3 could not apply to the MPs in question as Bersatu had been a founder as well as a component party of GRS at the time.
"So GRS cannot fall under the interpretation of 'other political parties', according to the spirit and letter of Clause 10.2.3," he said.
"I believe the Dewan Rakyat speaker has wrongly interpreted the Bersatu constitution and, in doing so, issued an erroneous decision as well."
Muhyiddin also cited a letter from the Sabah Bersatu executive board secretary dated Nov 3, which he said listed the four MPs as GRS candidates from Bersatu.
"This means that their participation as direct members of GRS did not affect their membership in Bersatu when they contested GE15," he said, adding that the letter had also been submitted to the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
In the event of a disagreement in interpreting Clause 10.2.3, he said, Clause 27 allocates the final say to the Bersatu Supreme Council.
"Therefore, in this case, only the Bersatu Supreme Council can determine whether the four MPs lost their membership immediately upon joining GRS.
"As the speaker has no authority to interpret the Bersatu constitution, his decision that the MPs do not need to vacate their seats is erroneous," he said.
Muhyiddin added that former Bersatu leader Hajiji Noor had only confirmed his exit from the party on Dec 10, while the MPs' act of crossing the floor occurred on Dec 19.
"Both of these acts resulted in the termination of their Bersatu membership under Articles 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 after GE15," he said.