Anti party-hopping bill to be tabled in Ramadhan

PM tells PH leaders in a meeting at Parliament that the bill will be tabled in a special session during the fasting month


PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has given his commitment that the bill to amend the Federal Constitution to prevent party-hopping will be tabled in a special session during the month of Ramadhan.

DAP’s new secretary general Anthony Loke (picture) said the PM had given the assurance in a special meeting with Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders in his office at the Parliament building yesterday.

“The main agenda of the meeting was on the status of the tabling of the Constitutional Amendment Bill to prevent party hopping among elected representatives,” said Loke in a statement.

The amendment is one of the main conditions in the memorandum of understanding between the federal government and PH leaders signed in September last year.

“All technical issues and definitions need to be resolved by the Bi-partisan Technical Committee in the near future.

“We are fully committed that PH will cooperate to ensure that the Constitutional Amendment can be approved to prevent any party hopping act among lawmakers,” he added.

Also present during the meeting were Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and PKR secretary general Datuk Seri Saifudin Nasution, who represented Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is undergoing quarantine at home.

Yesterday, leaders from both sides of the political divide had called for the anti party-hopping bill to be tabled in the current Dewan Rakyat session.

MCA secretary general Datuk Chong Sin Woon said before the next general election (GE), the bill should be introduced and passed as soon as possible “to prevent certain politicians from engaging in this democracy-destructive behaviour”.

“Before the current Parliament session concludes, either the anti-hopping or recall laws should be brought up for debate in order to re-establish public confidence in our nation’s democratic system.

“Despite the fact that this significant policy reform would require constitutional amendments, the government should demonstrate its resolve and commitment to settling any technical issues that arise. The current Parliament session will conclude on 24 March, leaving only one day for the Bill’s introduction, unless Parliament is extended,” Chong said.

Last week, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar stressed that the anti party-hopping will be tabled once the opinion and input from all parties have been obtained and engagement sessions have concluded, pending Cabinet approval.

According to him, the Cabinet has decided that this Bill still required further deliberation through engagement sessions with other stakeholders, particularly the Barisan Nasional and the Perikatan Nasional to ensure the amendments get their support in Dewan Rakyat.

Meanwhile, UPKO president and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said as the party who signed the MoU with the PM, the PH coalition is responsible to explain this issue to the public.

“So, we have no choice but to table this Bill at the current sitting. Therefore, it is appropriate that the current sitting of Parliament be continued for the Bill to be debated and approved. We are concerned about flip flops that will not help curb the party-hopping culture before the 15th GE,” said Madius.