KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — De facto law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan today challenged the Penang Pakatan Harapan (PH) to “sack” its four assemblymen who left the coalition to prove it is serious about enacting an anti-hopping law.
The Kota Baru MP from PAS noted that Penang is the only state government to have an anti-hopping law and should test it in court to show how it could be implemented at the federal level.
“So if the Opposition MPs really want this anti-party hopping law, and only Penang has amended their state Constitution to include an anti-party hopping law, I suggest to make the four state seats vacant.
“I suggest they sack these four assemblyman — Bertam, Seberang Jaya, Teluk Bahang and Sungai Acheh — from their positions, and let them take the matter to court, so that the court can use the Nordin Salleh case to make a decision,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat while winding up his speech on the King’s address.
Takiyuddin was referring to the landmark case of Nordin Salleh vs Kelantan State Legislative Assembly in 1992, in which the Supreme Court (as the country’s top court was called then) ruled that any anti-hopping law would violate Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution, which allows freedom of association.
Last month, Takuyiddin told Parliament that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government does not plan to introduce laws that would prevent elected officials from party “hopping”.
The ruling coalition, which came to power on the back of defections by MPs from PH, suggested that such laws were unconstitutional.
But today, Takiyuddin indicated that the PN may no longer be opposed to creating an anti-defection law in the future, if it feels there is a need.
“So let’s wait for Penang to vacate these state seats, let the court decide, and then only we will study how to bring about an anti-party hopping law,” he said.
He also took a jibe at Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong, saying that his predecessor once said that then PH administration had no plans to enact such a law.
“This means that they too did not want to change.
“But now that he is sitting on the other side, he also hopped previously,” Takiyuddin said.
Liew was formerly Sandakan MP with the Liberal Democratic Party which was aligned to Barisan Nasional, before crossing over to Parti Warisan Sabah that allied with PH previously to form the federal government.
The political crisis that ended PH rule in March has reinvigorated calls for laws to punish defectors.
Critics of the PN government in particular said defections are undemocratic, and that it had enabled the power grab that helped install PN as the new government.
Among those who defected to trigger the change in government include Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and his group of MPs from PKR, followed by several others in the months since.