No plans for anti-hopping law for now

It is high time for the govt to enact anti-hopping law given the current political turmoil, Malaysia Bar says

pic by BERNAMA

THE federal government has no immediate plans to introduce new legislation to prevent lawmakers from switching party allegiances after being elected, Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (picture) said.

He said such a law would contravene Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution which grants all citizens the right to form associations so long they do not undermine public safety or moral principles.

“However, the government is of the view that if there is a need to introduce an anti-hopping law in the future, a detailed study will be done, including by comparing best practices in other countries,” Takiyuddin told the Dewan Rakyat via a written statement on Tuesday.

He was responding to Pang Hok Liong (Pakatan Harapan-Labis) who asked if Putrajaya would prescribe an anti-hopping law that would cost the defectors their seats.

The parliamentary statement came a week after snap polls were called in Sabah following an exodus by 13 state representatives who voiced their support for former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman. The state election is expected to be held within 60 days before the end of September.

Allegations were made claiming several state representatives were offered cash and positions to jump ship. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has since opened an investigation into the claims.

Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir on Monday urged the Perikatan Nasional government to urgently enact anti-hopping laws to prevent elected lawmakers from switching sides.

“Given the current political turmoil, it is timely that the government considers enacting anti-hopping legislation to prevent lawmakers from switching parties.

“Article 10 (2)(c) of the Federal Constitution provides that the Parliament may by Federal law, impose restrictions on the freedom to form associations in the interest of security, public order or morality.

“We are of the view that the switching of political allegiances after being voted in by the rakyat can be considered as a betrayal of trust, and politically immoral.

“Anti-hopping laws are very much required to enhance political stability, public confidence in the democratic process and respect for the decision made by the electorate. In a democratic nation where the rule of law is held sacrosanct, it is high time for Malaysia to enact laws that make the crossing of the floor in the state assembly or Federal Parliament illegal,” he said.

Similar calls were made by Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) who urged the government to introduce a law that prohibits defection among lawmakers without reasonable cause.

Patriot president Brigadier General (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said in a statement that it helps strengthen the parliamentary two-party system as the elected representatives can focus on seriously serving the people instead of wasting time in brokering, dealing, horse-trading and offering themselves to the highest bidder in the throne of power.

Last month, the Selangor State Assembly approved a motion urging the federal government to enact an anti-hopping bill.