This is as Dewan Negara members are either appointed by the King or chosen by the state
by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic BERNAMA
THE anti-party hopping law that prohibits MPs from switching parties is not applicable to Dewan Negara members, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture) said.
Ismail Sabri said the matter was agreed upon by the Special Select Committee after considering numerous factors including state-level legal difficulties and discussions with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Ismail Sabri said Dewan Negara members are split into two groups, namely those appointed by the King and those chosen by the state based on the State Legislative Assembly membership.
“Before the constitutional revision relating to party switching, Dewan Negara members and other stakeholders should be explained via dialogue sessions,” he said when tabling the Bill for the second reading at the Dewan Negara today.
He said MPs’ show of support for any political party or coalitions could have consequences for government transition and political stability.
“It is thus more fitting that the statute prohibiting party switching solely apply to MPs,” he reiterated.
The PM added that the support of all Dewan Negara members for the amendment of this Bill was critical, given the requirements of Clause (3) Article 159, which is subject to Clause (4) Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which states that a Bill to amend the Federal Constitution can only be passed if it receives support on the second and third readings from no less than two-thirds, or 40 of the Dewan Negara’s 60 members.
He said the purpose of this law amendment is to send a clear message to each MP to adhere to the principles of the party they represent to protect the mandate of the people who voted and have high confidence in them during the election process.
“I am certain that this Bill is also capable of prohibiting any elected or appointed party member from changing parties without good or fair cause, thereby guaranteeing the country’s political stability in the long run,” he added.
The development of this Bill took almost a year.
Ismail Sabri said the drafting process had been difficult because it requires time, energy and dedication of all stakeholders, including the Special Select Committee, the Legal Affairs Division of the PM’s Department, the Attorney General’s Department and Parliament.