19 Jan, 11 (Malaysiakini)
Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim announced today that the state assembly seat of Port Klang has fallen vacant with effect from Jan 16.
Its representative Badrul Hisham Abdullah has been absent for six months since the last assembly sitting he attended on July 15 last year.
The decision was made under Articles 69 and 70(1) of the state constitution. There is no provision for an appeal.
The announcement is likely to pave the way for the 15th by-election since the 2008 general election.
Badrul, who had in 2009 quit PKR to turn Independent, was absent for all six days of the third assembly sitting from Nov 8 to 15, 2010 without permission.
“Badrul admitted his absence… in a letter which reached my office on Dec 10, seeking leave of absence as he was seeking traditional treatment in Pahang,” Teng (left) told a press conference in Shah Alam this afternoon.
“I replied on Dec 21 to say that his absence was unacceptable as he did not apply for leave before the sitting and did not give any concrete reason for his late application.”
Badrul then replied on Jan 5 to apologise but did not state reasons for his late leave application.
Article 69 of state constitution provides that if a member of the state legislature is absent without leave from the speaker for six months, then the seat is considered vacant.
Teng used Article 70(1) to interpret the computation of six months. It states that the sultan must call for an assembly sitting no later than six months after the last day of the previous sitting lapsing.
He said there was no precedent for this in Parliament or any state assembly in Malaysia.
Teng also said he has not informed the Election Commission (EC) about this, and that there is no time limit in which he has to do so.
“The period in which the EC has to call for an election will only begin after the commission receives notice of the vacancy,” he said.
Badrul has yet to be informed of the matter. He did not answer the phone when an immediate attempt was made to contact him.
Speculation about a possible 15th by-election has been swirling since last Saturday.
On Monday, Badrul had denied being absent from all days of the sitting last November, claiming he had been present on the 8th, before leaving to seek treatment for an illnesss.
Asked later about this, Teng produced records showing that Badrul had not signed the attendance sheet on Nov 8.
“In his letter, Badrul also admitted that he was absent on all the days of the November sitting,” he said.
Contacted later, Badrul told Malaysiakini that he was yet to hear from Teng about the speaker’s decision.
“I did not even hear what the speaker said, as aired on television. I was only informed of this by reporters,” he said.
“I did not attend the November sitting but I attended all the others, even after I turned Independent.
Badrul added that he would send in a letter of appeal to the speaker, even though Teng has said that there is no provision for appeal under the state constitution.