Dewan Negara passes Anti-Party Hopping Law

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic TMR

THE Anti-Party Hopping Bill (Bill No 3) 2022 Amendment in Committee had been voted into law by the Dewan Negara yesterday. 

The bill received the approval of 52 members of the Dewan Negara, while seven others were absent from the voting.

The bill was first introduced to the Dewan Rakyat on July 27, 2022, and debated for two days before being approved by the Dewan Rakyat on July 28, 2022, with the support of a majority of 209 votes.

The bill seeks to amend Articles 103 and 125 of the Federal Constitution to prohibit members of the Dewan Rakyat and State Legislative Assembly from changing parties or joining new parties without resigning from the current party.

In addition, the bill proposes to provide for the punishment, penalties and fines for members of the Dewan Rakyat and State Legislative Assembly who violate the prohibition; and to clarify the application of the prohibition to members of the Dewan Rakyat and State Legislative Assembly who join new parties as part of a coalition.

The bill also repeals Article 48 (6) of the Federal Constitution, which states that a member of the Dewan Rakyat may continue to serve if he/she joins a new party as long as the party does not form a government at the federal level.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), said that the bill is a step towards achieving political stability in the country.

He said after the upper house vote, he will meet with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to urge each state government to implement the legislation.

MPs who switch parties would have their seats revoked under the pending bill. There will be exceptions for MPs who are expelled from their party or whose party is disbanded or deregistered.

MPs chosen as speakers of the Dewan Rakyat will be excluded from the legislation, as well.

As senators are now chosen by state legislatures or by appointment of the federal government and not in a general election, the legislation will not apply to them.

Before being published, the bill would be forwarded to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his approval.

“If all goes according to plan,” Wan Junaidi had earlier said, “the legislation would be gazetted in the first week of September.”

During the wrap-up speech of the bill, members of the Dewan Rakyat had asked for the names of those who were absent during the voting to be made public.