AS the de facto law minister, the late Liew Vui Keong was once asked by Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng on whether an anti-party hopping law would be pursued by the Pakatan Harapan government.
In a parliamentary written reply in October 2018, Liew said an anti-party hopping law to deter lawmakers from defecting was not in the works as every citizen had the right under the federal constitution to form association under Article 10(1)(c).
Liew cited a Federal Court case involving the Kelantan assemblyman Nordin Salleh in 1992. PAS had its own anti-hopping rule then, and when Nordin switched to Umno, the case went to court. The apex court then ruled that such a rule was void as it violated freedom of association under Article 10 of the constitution.
But the government – by whatever name – should have no problem with an anti-party hopping law. Singapore’s constitution has a simple provision on it. Article 46(2)(b) says that the “seat of a Member of Parliament shall become vacant if he ceases to be a member of, or is expelled or resigns from, the political party for which he stood in the election.”
The Indian constitution has more elaborate provisions in its 10th Schedule – popularly known as anti-defection law. The law has come into much criticism in recent years, perhaps because it is too elaborate.
Whether the Malaysian law is simple or elaborate, it is time for the law. Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s offer of an anti-party hopping law to be tabled must see the light of day.
Now is the time for a two-thirds bipartisan support from the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara on constitutional amendments necessary for the law. – August 29, 2021.
* Hafiz Hassan reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.