KUCHING, July 30: Rise of Social Efforts (Rose) views the passing of the anti-party hopping law in the Dewan Rakyat on July 28 as a sign of great success in Malaysia’s parliamentary history and democracy.
The non-partisan civil society group said the law is also a testament to the way law-making can be a bipartisan effort and consultative in nature by the setting up and working of a Parliamentary Select Committee to oversee the drafting of the law.
“Hence, we congratulate Minister of Law Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and all the Members of Parliament (MPs) who had debated (54) and those who gave a resounding vote to the Bill (209).
“From the debates, we observe that every MP who had debated on the Bill tacitly acknowledged that the voters or citizens have become sick and tired of the politics and are losing confidence in politicians and governance in general.
“It was time for this piece of legislation to bring a semblance of hope to the people in the voting process or outcome and parliamentary democracy,” it said in a statement today.
Rose, however, noted that there are weaknesses in the Bill which will need other solutions via other reforms or mechanisms such as recall elections, making Parliament a fixed term Parliament, reforms in political financing and allocating equal/equitable constituency development funds to all MPs and assemblymen whether or not they are in government coalition or not.
It also called on the Sarawak government for a similar anti-hopping provision to be enacted at the State-level expeditiously after the Federal Constitutional amendments are gazetted and consented to by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.
It said this would involve amendments to the State constitution regarding disqualifying State assemblypersons.
“The anti-party hopping bill also amended the provisions in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, which is a Schedule containing what states must have in their constitution. The essential amendment is the one pertaining to the disqualification of State assemblymen.
“So it’s one thing to amend the Federal Constitution and for Yang di-Pertua Negeri to consent to its application to Sarawak.
“It is another for the Sarawak government to move for these provisions to be incorporated into our State constitution to streamline the changes so that elected representatives will also have to give up their seat at State Legislative Assembly (DUN) if they party-hop,” it added.
The organisation further said that it is confident that the Sarawak government will, in due course, amend the constitution accordingly since there were no Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs that raised any objections to the amendments to the Eighth Schedule. — DayakDaily