Tabling of constitutional amendments shows how Parliament should work, says senator

Senator Robert Lau

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

KUCHING, April 12: The tabling of the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday (April 11) is exactly how Parliament should work, said Senator Robert Lau.

In a statement issued today, he said that an overwhelming majority wants the party hopping of elected representatives to be made unlawful, or at the very least, to have them penalised.

“For the last few weeks, discussion on the anti-hopping law has intensified and reached its crescendo pitch at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“The outcome of yesterday’s decision was to refine the definition in the proposed Bill and prepare the enabling of the anti-party hopping law and table it concurrently.

“As a Parliamentarian in the Senate, I am eager to have my views on this heard since I have been advocating for such types of laws,” he said.

However, he added that the opportunity did not present itself as the Dewan Negara’s special sitting today regarding amendments to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution to formulate the anti-party hopping law was cancelled.

“Nonetheless, I am proud to see how the legislative arm formulated the anti-party hopping law. This is one of the rare occasions where the legislative arm is actively involved in and in control of the deliberation and drafting of the laws. This is the main duty of MPs.

“This has resulted in the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No 3) 2022 being retracted from being tabled and voted on yesterday in Dewan Rakyat and today in Dewan Negara to refine it further.

“In addition, because of the debate, it was agreed that the anti-party hopping law will be prepared and tabled at the same time as the constitutional amendments,” he said.

He explained that some had taken sceptical and even cynical views surrounding the process and culminating in the laws being presented for the legislative arm to approve.

“There was much back and forth between the government and Opposition and even within the Cabinet and the parties within the government on how this law should be like, culminating in the debate in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“I stand to argue that this is exactly how Parliament should work. Parliament is not a rubber stamp of the executive. This time the legislators are actively involved in drafting the laws on anti-hopping.

“However, this rarely happens. Most of the time, the decision has been made with little input from legislators. In a supermajority parliament, the party whip will ensure that all government bills are passed with no chance of change from the legislative arm.”

He added that the result must also justify the means, which can be achieved if legislators do what is required of them without political interest or the influence of party politics.

“If the outcome of the process is gridlocked with nothing to show or a compromised version of the Bill that is ineffective and does not live up to the people’s expectations, then the people’s faith in it will be diminished.

“I hope Parliament can continue to live up to its purpose and expectations, as seen in the formulating and debate on the anti-party hopping law.” — DayakDaily