Report: Govt, Opposition MPs back introduction of anti-party hopping law

Fahmi said that a lack of trust towards the government could result in the people no longer being bothered about good governance. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Fahmi said that a lack of trust towards the government could result in the people no longer being bothered about good governance. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Politicians from both sides of the aisle appear to back anti-party hopping laws being introduced, saying it would stabilise and improve the perception of local politics. 

Sinar Harian reported PKR’s Fahmi Fadzil and DAP’s Hannah Yeoh as backing the new law, with Fahmi saying the new regulations would avoid negative assumptions and perceptions from surfacing. 

The Lembah Pantai MP warned that the absence of such a law could cause citizens to begin trivialising the country’s democratic process which could lead to further hazards or uprisings. 

He explained how the lack of trust towards the government could trigger an uprising, resulting in the people no longer being bothered about good governance.

“We will see situations where there will be splinters of people who will refuse to go out to vote or some who might destroy their ballots. If we look at the concept of no taxation without representation, the rakyat has a right to know how the taxes which they paid are being spent by the government. 

“When the rakyat stops caring about their leaders taking advantage of opportunities to commit corruption, it will give birth to more kleptocrats and cronies that will destroy the country,” he was quoted saying. 

DAP’s Yeoh meanwhile stressed the importance of an anti-hopping law to instill confidence in voters to convince them to come out and cast their votes. 

“If not, what is happening now, with three prime ministers (appointed) in three years, will repeat itself,” Yeoh said. 

Sinar Harian’s report also saw Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Razlan Rafii expressing his support for the drafting of such a law, saying it will not contravene with Article 10(1)(c ) of the Federal Constitution concerning freedom of expression. 

He said the existence of such a law would ensure sustained loyalty from politicians towards their parties, with the law applicable to both the lawmakers and political parties. 

“It would mean that when we speak about freedom of expression, this would apply to both sides which are the Parliamentarians and the party who gave their permission to use their emblem and assets. 

“The party’s assets refer to their machinery, manpower, time, and funds that are utilised by someone contesting and who gets elected under the party’s logo. 

Mohd Razlan added how the existence of such a law would ensure government blocs remain stable even if their majority is only a handful of MPs. 

“If we can enforce this act, even if a party has a majority of one MP, we will see the country remain stable. This is because MPs would have to resign from their posts if they decide to defect from their political party,” he was quoted saying in Sinar’s report. 

Also on the same page was Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chief whip Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who said such a law would put an end to the unhealthy practice. 

He added how the previous Perikatan Nasional government intended to table such a law, had their bipartisan offer been accepted by Opposition lawmakers. 

“We have no problems with the party hopping act because our culture is not one to hop between parties. This is because to me, party-hopping is an unhealthy culture, and as such support introducing such laws,” he said. 

However, Parti Amanah Negara’s deputy president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the introduction of such laws would not automatically ensure political stability. 

He said even with the existence of such laws, federal and state lawmakers are still entitled to provide their stand on motions and bills tabled, regardless if it was tabled by the government or the Opposition. 

Mahfuz added how he sees the possibility of such regulations being abused to force support from lawmakers.

“To me, this is a party issue. If a party embezzles (money), why would I want to support it?

“We cannot be looking at the aspect of party hopping only, we must look back at the people’s mandate which we cannot escape,” he said in the report.

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