Bersatu has filed legal action against Dewan Rakyat Speaker Johari Abdul in its attempt to vacate four parliamentary seats in Sabah.
The application for leave to initiate the judicial review was filed by Bersatu vice-president Ronald Kiandee and a public officer of the party, Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya, through the legal firm of Messrs Chetan Jethwani & Company at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on April 17.
Bersatu, as the applicant, named Johari and the four MPs, namely Armizan Mohd Ali (Papar), Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Jonathan Yasin (Ranau) and Matbali Musah (Sipitang) as the first to the fifth respondents.
In the application, Bersatu is seeking an order to revoke a decision made by Johari, through a letter dated Jan 16, which stated that the second to fifth respondents had clarified and confirmed that there was no vacant parliamentary seat based on the interpretation of the constitution of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Bersatu.
Bersatu is also seeking a declaration that the four MPs had ceased to be members of the Dewan Rakyat per Article 49A of the federal constitution, as well as an order for Johari to confirm the four seats as unoccupied.
Besides that, Bersatu is also seeking an order for Johari to inform the Election Commission about the vacancy within 21 days of the order, and if permission is granted and pending the judicial review hearing, Bersatu is seeking a disclosure order for the respondents to submit all correspondence and records to and from Johari regarding information and explanations of their dismissal.
In the 15th general election (GE15), the four MPs were elected under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) banner, which included Bersatu as a coalition member. However, GRS ended its alliance with Bersatu following the election.
Bersatu stated that on Dec 10, 2022, GRS chairman Hajiji Noor made a media statement informing that the second to fifth respondents had decided to leave the party.
The applicant claimed that on Dec 19, 2022, in the first parliamentary session after GE15, the second to fifth respondents sat in the government block, which clearly showed their intention to leave Bersatu.
Accordingly, Bersatu secretary-general issued a termination notice to the second to fifth respondents on Dec 21, 2022, informing them that they have ceased to be members of the party.
According to the party, due to the termination occurring after GE15, the parliamentary seat became vacant based on Article 49A(3) of the Federal Constitution which states that any member of the Dewan Rakyat shall cease to be its member and their seat shall be vacated.
Bersatu claimed that Johari, through a letter dated Jan 16, stated that the second to fifth respondents had already given an explanation and confirmed that there was no vacancy based on the interpretation of the GRS constitution and the Bersatu constitution.
Through a review of the court system, the application for leave to initiate the judicial review will be heard before judge Amarjeet Singh on May 30.