Anti-party hopping bill passes in Parliament with support of 209 MPs

Wan Junaidi presenting his winding-up speech in Parliament today (July 28, 2022).

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By Lian Cheng and Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 28: The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 on Provisions Preventing Members of Parliament from Switching Parties or commonly called “anti-party hopping bill” has been passed following its third reading in Parliament today.

The Bill received the support of MPs from both sides of the political divide with 209 giving ‘ayes’ while 11 were recorded as absent during voting.

De facto Law Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar presented his winding-up speech for the Bill after a two-day debate involving a total of 54 MPs.

According to him, the Federal government expected all states/States to adopt the same law by either enacting the same law or to amend existing law to be in line with the new law.

“Although we have several provisions in the constitution to uniform the law, however, so far, we will only appeal or persuade the states/States to make the law uniform throughout the country,” said Wan Junaidi.

He said currently, there are at least four states/States having the same law. Despite Sabah Assembly rejecting the law, he was quite confident that Sabah will reintroduce the same law following the passing of the new Bill.

On the definition of “switching parties”, the Santubong MP clarified that any elected representative leaving a party to join another party within the same coalition, the membership of the elected representative ceases and the said elected representative considered is considered “leaving the party” and the latter will need to vacate his or her seat.

With regard to the situation where an elected representative is a direct member of a coalition and decides to join another coalition, he or she is considered “switching party”.

In answering the questions raised by MPs, he said when a party decides to leave a coalition, the party is not considered “swtiching party” as the new law only deals with an elected representative within a political party.

In the situation where an elected representative disagrees with the decision of his party, Wan Junaidi said the status of the elected representative depends on his position in the party. If the party decides that he is still a member of the party, he remains in the party. Otherwise, the elected representative will be considered “leaving the party” and will lose his seat.

Wan Junaidi explained that the membership of the elected reprensentative depends on the constitution of the party involved.

He affirmed that each party must strengthen its own constitution to deal with its elected representatives to be in line with the new law.

“That is why there is a necessity for political parties to amend their party constitutions to be in line with the new law,” said Wan Junaidi. — DayakDaily