The government has postponed the tabling of the Federal Constitution (Amendments) 2022 Bill on Anti-Party Hopping and Limiting the Tenure of the Prime Minister, from its initial deadline — the current Parliament sitting ending March 24.
In a statement today, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the decision was made after the Cabinet determined that more input was needed from stakeholders, “particularly” Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
He added that this was to guarantee the Bill garners the adequate two-thirds majority support needed to amend the Federal Constitution, once it is tabled in Parliament.
“This initiative is a continuation of the previous nine engagement sessions that I have had with the cooperation of the Legal Affairs Division, Prime Minister’s Department and Attorney General’s Chambers.
“The engagement sessions comprised members of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara as well as component parties, including parties in Sabah and Sarawak.
“I would like to inform you that an engagement session with the Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional that was scheduled on February 26 and 28 respectively was postponed at the request of the respective parties in order for them to focus on the Johor state election,” he said.
Wan Junaidi then said that once engagement sessions with all parties have concluded, a Special Parliament session will be held to table the Bill, “if the Cabinet so approves” and “once the prime minister agrees to use his power”.
He added that the special session will be called under the Standing Orders 11 (3) of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, which allows the prime minister to call for a special parliamentary meeting outside of the set schedule, if “public interest requires” it.
Previously, Wan Junaidi had promised on several occasions this year that the Bill would be tabled during the current Parliament session, and on February 24 even announced his confidence that it would be passed based on stakeholder engagement sessions.
The Bill has been a major point of interest for the Opposition, especially as Pakatan Harapan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government abstaining from various challenges to the government rule, in return for several concessions including the passing of a Bill to deter party-hopping. – MMO