MPs from both political divide today announced the forming of a bipartisan parliamentary caucus to reform the country’s electoral system, which includes addressing party-hopping.
Chaired by Umno’s Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the caucus has been given six months to gather views from relevant stakeholders before tabling the recommendations to the Dewan Rakyat.
“We feel it is time to form a caucus to stop the embarrassing actions by MPs, to a point that the country is now becoming unstable because of party-hopping.
“We have had this problem for over 30 years now,” Nazri told reporters during a press conference held at the Parliament building.
Although there is a court ruling which deems the anti-hopping law as unconstitutional and against human rights, Nazri said the caucus will look for the best method to resolve the issue.
“The highest court in the country had [previously] decided that an anti-hopping law cannot be done because it will prevent an MP or an assemblyman from practising one’s basic human rights.
“But we must think of a way. All of these were done by humans and as humans, we can use our brains to find ways to stop it,” he said referring to party hoppers as prostitutes.
He added that parties who do not agree with such efforts can be considered as “prostituting” themselves.
“What are the examples we want to show to the youth, actually? To me, an elected MP who hops to another is a disgrace,” he said, adding that leaders from all big political parties in the country would join the caucus.
“Do not place any barriers just to frustrate this effort. This is a good effort for our MPs, the people and the future of our nation,” he said.
Also present at the press conference, DAP’s Seremban MP Anthony Loke said the caucus was formed following Nazri’s recent proposal that the Election Commission Act 1957 be amended to enforce a party-list system to end party-hopping, curb the buying of MPs and ensure political stability.
According to Loke, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan @ Harun has been notified and has agreed to the formation of the caucus.
“We are asking for six months to complete the report and it will be tabled to the government and after that, an amendment to the [Act] will be done.
“We will call on academics, non-governmental organisations and relevant individuals to provide us with the best ways to improve our electoral system.
“We want to put a stop to MPs hopping to another party after they have received the mandate from the people”, Loke said.
Nazri’s proposal is also one of the suggestions put forward by the Election Reform Committee (ERC) formed during the to the previous Pakatan Harapan government.
Nazri previously said rather than making party-hopping unlawful, he proposed an alternative where a constituency is tied to the winning party rather than the representative.