Hamzah had said jumping from one party to another is normal, and that it has been happening for decades.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s recent remark in support of party hopping is a “good indication” that the much-anticipated Bill on the matter would not see the light of day come June, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said today.
In a statement, Maria said that Hamzah’s remark that he sees no issue with the act, as long as the intent is righteous is flawed, adding that this was the justification used for the “Sheraton Move”, which toppled the 22-month-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
“Not mentioning the past where a legitimate government was brought down due to greed and power is not an option. The reason why people are angry and disenchanted is that they feel their mandate was robbed from them without any consultation, let alone elections.
“It then subsequently laid the ground for the revival of the over 60-year rule by Umno-Barisan leaders who stole the nation’s funds for their own personal gains and power,” she said.
“That is why the anti-hopping Bill becomes relevant — to stop further abuse of entrusted powers for personal gains,” she added.
Maria added that while she believes in freedom of association as enshrined in the Article 10(1)(c) of the Constitution, she said there is still a crucial need to set very strict limits to disallow “governments from falling into greedy hands again”, especially when legislators decide to change allegiance for personal benefits.
Maria said there are many variations of anti-party hopping laws and limits to party-hopping which happens when an elected representative loses their seat.
She pointed out that the main benefit of this anti-party hopping mechanism is to have legislators seek a fresh mandate from the voters with immediate effect.
During the police’s Hari Raya open house yesterday, Hamzah told reporters that jumping from one party to another is normal, and that it has been happening for decades.
Hamzah, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general, was responding to Umno’s Datuk Seri Md Alwi Che Ahmad, who said Umno should be open to MPs who want to return to the party.
The issue of MPs switching allegiances has led to the current government only possessing a thin majority.
The anti-party hopping Bill is expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in the next sitting from July 18 to August 4 following several postponements.
The reason for the postponement was that the government needed more time to deliberate the meaning of the definition of party-hopping. – MMO