KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Several “very influential” members of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet were allegedly stymying the push to enact a law against political defection before the general election, according to sources.
These sources alleged to news portal Free Malaysia Today that such efforts were in direct opposition of other ministers’ publicly stated desire to see such a law in place before the next general election.
“Apparently a handful of very influential Cabinet ministers prefer the law to be put in place after GE15. They want it as an insurance to accept the frogs if they need the numbers to form the government or join winning parties.
“If the law is gazetted before GE15, then there is no chance for losers to be in power like now. Some of them could also see the end of their political careers if this happens,” the portal quoted one source as saying.
The proposed law against political defection had been scheduled to be tabled on April 11 but this was postponed due to disagreements among MPs over its framework. A supposed special sitting last month for the purpose also never materialised.
Last month, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Cabinet has provisionally approved the Bill for tabling pending minor adjustments.
Other sources indicated that the main opponents to the law were Cabinet members from PAS and Bersatu, allegedly because the two parties were not confident of performing well in the 15th general election.
Bersatu and PAS are in the Perikatan Nasional coalition that is part of the current government but which remains on a collision course with the resurgent Barisan Nasional that has openly rejected cooperation heading into GE15.
One source said proponents of the anti-hopping law believed its enactment would assuage voters who were losing faith in Malaysia’s democracy, after recent political intrigue saw one government collapse prematurely and two more come to power unelected.
“There is definitely a fear that the voter turnout will be affected adversely if there is no anti-hopping law in place,” one source said. “Voters may feel that they will be wasting their time in going to cast their ballots.”
Already delayed several times despite public commitment to table it, the proposed law against party hopping is now due to be tabled in the parliamentary meeting starting July 18.