Anti-hopping law not applicable to 3 ex-PSB members set to join govt bloc at DUN sitting

Asfia (centre) during the media press conference at PBB HQ on May 4, 2024.  

By Marlynda Meraw and Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 4: The anti-hopping law does not apply to the three former opposition assemblymen from the dissolved Party Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) who will be joining the government bloc for the upcoming Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting from May 6 to May 15

DUN Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar was referring to Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkelili), and Baru Bian (Ba’Kelalan).

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According to Mohamad Asfia, the anti-hopping law, introduced on November 11, 2022, came into effect by the former Sarawak governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and was gazetted on July 27, 2023.

“The Sarawak election was held on December 18, 2021, and the candidates (Wong, Johnical, and Baru Bian) received no notifications regarding the anti-hopping law; therefore, it (anti-hopping law) does not apply (to them),” said Mohamad Asfia following the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) pre-council meeting in conjunction with the DUN sitting at PBB headquarters today.

“After they (Wong, Johnical, and Baru Bian) were elected, then the anti-hopping law was passed. This is like shutting the stable doors after the horses have bolted,” he said.

Mohamad Asfia cited Amendment Two of Article 16(B) Section 2(a) of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak Ordinance 2022, “A member of the DUN shall not cease to be a member of that DUN pursuant to this article by reason of (a) The dissolution or cancellation of registration of his political party. Therefore, the elected member does not cease to be a member either by dissolution of his party or cancellation of his political party”.

Following this, Mohamad Asfia later quoted Standing Order 2, in which it is at the discretion of the DUN Speaker to determine the position of the seating arrangement, whose decision, therefore, shall be final.

“Therefore, the three former PSB members who are now members of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) will be moved from the opposition bloc to the government bloc, sitting on the lefthand side of the Speaker,” said Mohamad Asfia. — DayakDaily

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