End of the road for independent MPs looking to join political parties?

Wan Junaidi presenting his winding-up speech on the anti-party hopping bill in Parliament today (July 28, 2022).

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By Lian Cheng and Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 28: MPs who won their seats as independents are prohibited by the newly-passed anti-party hopping law from joining any political party as they will be deemed as “switching party” and will lose their seats if they do so once the law takes effect.

According to de facto Law Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, under the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022 on Provisions Preventing Members of Parliament from Switching Parties commonly called the “anti-party hopping bill” passed in Parliament today, an independent MP who is not a member of any political party may support any political party or coalition but cannot join a party.

“He or she must remain an independent MP and cannot join any political party. If the independent MP joins a political party, then he or she is considered to have changed parties and loses his or her position as a MP.

“This is because the independent MP’s mandate is given by the people under an independent ticket and if the mandate is not fulfilled, then it must return to the people through election,” said Wan Junaidi during his winding-up speech on the Bill today after more than 50 MPs deliberated on it in Parliament over the last two days.

This, he said, was one of two situations where independent MPs were concerned.

In the situation where an MP from a political party becomes an independent MP, who later wishes to join another party, in such a case, Wan Junaidi said, the MP will be considered to have “switched party”.

“In this regard, the MP is considered to have changed party because the MP wins the seat through a political party and is given a mandate by the people through votes during an election based on the political party they represent,” said Wan Junaidi. — DayakDaily