Malaysian Bar: Time for ‘Anti-Hopping’ Law

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Malaysian Bar President Salim Bashir today urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to urgently enact anti-hopping legislation to prevent elected lawmakers from switching parties.

“In view of the current political turmoil, it is timely that the government considers enacting anti-hopping legislation to prevent lawmakers from switching parties.

“Notwithstanding the judicial pronouncement in Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v Nordin bin Salleh & Anor,[1] the Malaysian Bar is of the view that there is no prohibition from the said case for Parliament to legislate anti-defection laws at the Federal level.

“Article 10(2)(c) of the Federal Constitution provides that Parliament may by Federal law, impose restrictions on the freedom to form associations in the interest of security, public order or morality.

“We are of the view that the switching of political allegiances, after being voted in by the rakyat, can be considered as a betrayal of trust, and politically immoral.

Yusof Mat Isa

“Anti-hopping laws are very much required in order to enhance political stability, public confidence in the democratic process, and respect for the decision made by the electorate.

“In a democratic nation where the rule of law is held sacrosanct, it is high time for Malaysia to enact laws that make the crossing of the floor in the State Assembly or Federal Parliament, illegal,” he said in a statement today.

Salim’s statement came after the political episode in Sabah last week, where 13 assemblymen had decided to withdraw support from Chief Minister and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

Instead, they had pledge support for former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

It was also reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) opened an investigation into claims that several assemblymen were offered cash and positions to jump ship.

The MACC had contacted some of the assemblymen who had made such allegations through the media in recent days. – MMO