MP, ADUN who leave party must vacate seats

pic TMR FILE

MPS and state assemblymen (ADUN) who leave their parties must vacate their seats and a by-election must be held to replace them.

Based on the new draft of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 on the ban on elected representatives from changing parties tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today, the vacancy was however exempted for three reasons, namely dissolution or cancellation of party registration, release of party membership when elected as president, as well as being fired by the party.

The exceptions set out in the new draft of the bill will involve amendments under Article 49A of the Federal Constitution by inserting after Article 49A, new items namely Articles 49A (1) and 49A (2), 49A (3) and 49A (4).

Article 49A (1) stipulates that a member of the Dewan Rakyat shall cease to be a member of the assembly and his seat is vacant when he relinquishes membership of a political party or ceases to be a member of a political party or if he is an independent MP who wins an election then joins a political party.

Under Article 49A (2), an MP does not cease to be a member of the assembly due to the dissolution or logging of party registration, release of party membership when elected as the president and getting dismissed by his party.

Meanwhile, according to Article 49A (3), a notice of vacancy must be made to the speaker of the House of Representatives by any MP on the occurrence of an unexpected vacancy and the speaker must inform the Election Commission (EC) of the vacancy within 21 days from the date the notice is received.

Article 49A (4) stipulates that the EC must fill the contingency vacancy or hold a by-election within 60 days after receiving notice from the president.

Apart from that, the new draft bill also saw amendments to Article 10, Article 48, Article 60 and the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The amendment to the Eighth Schedule, involving the allocation to the ADUN, saw the insertion of a new clause after Section 7, namely section 7A (1), with the content of the amendment resembling the amendment under Article 49A.

The details of the new draft bill, which is currently in the second reading stage in the Dewan Rakyat, will see the implementation of the Anti-Party Hopping Bill after this focusing entirely on amending the Federal Constitution, not the enactment of a new act.

This means that the government needs the support of two-thirds of MPs to approve the entire provisions in the amendment to this bill, to enable the law to prevent any MPs and ADUN from switching parties to be gazetted, then enforced.

On April 11, the government tabled for the first reading the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 to add clause 3A in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.  

The bill was presented personally by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture), among others, to allow restrictions on the right to form associations given in paragraph (C) of Clause 1 relating to membership in political parties of Dewan Rakyat and ADUN, which may also be imposed by the federal law.  

Wan Junaidi had previously informed that the bill was scheduled to be debated by MPs on July 27 with the approval process for amendments to the bill to be determined a day later.  

Meanwhile, several Opposition MPs also confirmed that the draft bill had been tabled to them.

“The Parliamentary Special Select Committee has submitted the Amendment to the Anti-Party Hopping Bill back to the Dewan Rakyat this morning,” said Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil via Twitter this morning.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin said the report of the Special Select Committee to Consider the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 and the Provision on the Prohibition of Members of the House of Representatives from Changing Parties was also tabled this morning.