Kelantan state seat vacant after lawmaker voted out

KOTA BARU • A seat in the Kelantan state legislature is vacant after an assemblyman was voted out on Tuesday by most of his fellow lawmakers.

Datuk Mat Yusoff Abdul Ghani, who is from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition's Umno party, was in May declared a bankrupt by a court in Selangor. A bankrupt cannot retain his position as a lawmaker.

The seat vacancy opens up the possibility of a by-election in Kelantan, amid talk that the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) state government of 27 years has been weakened after PAS rebels formed a new party in 2015.

However, a by-election is unnecessary as the state assembly's tenure expires in less than two years and the vacancy does not destabilise the state government's majority.

In the balloting held at the state assembly in Kota Baru, 32 out of the 44 assemblymen voted to disqualify Mr Mat Yusoff. Nine others abstained while three assemblymen were absent.

"I hereby declare Mat Yusoff is no longer qualified to be an assemblyman, and the Nenggiri seat is vacant effective today," Speaker Abdullah Ya'kub announced on Tuesday.

  • 32

    Of 44 voted to disqualify Mr Mat Yusoff due to his bankruptcy



On June 1, Datuk Abdullah had called a press conference to declare the seat vacant based on the Insolvency Department's letter dated May 28, affirming Mr Mat Yusoff's status as a bankrupt.

On June 7, Mr Mat Yusoff hit back at the Speaker, claiming that he had breached the state Constitution by declaring the seat vacant without the consent of the state assembly.

Mr Mat Yusoff pointed out that the House should have decided on the disqualification of an elected representative as stipulated under Article 32 of the State Constitution.

The Article states that the state assembly should be the proper forum to decide on the disqualification of an elected representative.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'Kelantan state seat vacant after lawmaker voted out'. Print Edition | Subscribe