KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysia should have recall elections if it is serious about ending the practice of elected representatives switching parties as and when they wish, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said reiterated today.

The Umno lawmaker has been a vocal proponent of recall elections, which returns the power to voters to decide who they want as their elected representatives if they later decide to change or join a different political party.

She said it shows “real democracy” at work by empowering voters instead of political parties or the government.

“Recall is the best remedy. Voters will decide if the elected representatives stay or go. Empower voters, NOT political parties, NOT government. That’s real democracy!” she posted on her Twitter account this morning.

In a separate tweet last night, she cautioned against amending Article 10 of the Federal Constitution without “strictly” defining the laws of the Federal Constitution (Amendments) 2022 Bill on Anti-Party Hopping and Limiting the Tenure of the Prime Minister, saying the proposal is too wide and therefore dangerous.

“Also, such laws could later be challenged on constitutional grounds. Why not also amend Art 48(6) on Monday to avoid potential constitutional crisis in future?” suggested Azalina, who is currently special law and human rights adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Article 48(6) of the Federal Constitution and sub-section 6 (5) Schedule Eight of the Federal Constitution respectively state that an MP or assemblyman who resigns, shall be disqualified from contesting as a member of the House of Representatives for a period of five years, effective from the date of resignation.

Malaysia has experienced quick changes to government at both federal and state levels in recent years after elected representatives switched their allegiances. 

Calls for legislation to curb party-hopping have grown louder since the collapse of the elected Pakatan Harapan federal government in 2018, which was triggered by the departure of several of its MPs, namely PKR and Bersatu.

The current government is led by Ismail Sabri from Umno and postponed tabling the Federal Constitution (Amendments) 2022 Bill on Anti-Party Hopping and Limiting the Tenure of the Prime Minister for a second time last Wednesday.

The Bill was supposed to be tabled on Monday last week, but de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government needed more time to deliberate the definition of “party-hopping.”