Yesterday (27 July), the anti-hopping Bill which penalises party-hopping elected representatives was finally brought to the Dewan Rakyat by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
According to NST, Ismail said if implemented, the Act would not be applied retrospectively, meaning that it would only apply to party hoppers after the Act is gazetted.
Explaining the parameters of the constitutional amendments, Ismail said MPs who jump from parties in the same or different coalitions will have their seat vacated, as well as those who switch from being a party representative to contesting for elections as an independent candidate.
“A member of the Dewan Rakyat (DR) who exited a political party that belongs in a coalition, and then he joins another political party, either in the same coalition or otherwise, ceases to be a member of the DR.”
“The membership of a DR member refers to the membership of a political party, either it is in a coalition or not.”
“Aside from that, the membership of a DR member also refers to an MP who does not belong to any political party within a coalition but the person is a direct member of the coalition party,” he said.
On the other hand, there will be a few exceptions to the anti-hopping Bill and that include MPs who may be fired from their parties, if a party is disbanded or cancels its registration and MPs who exit their parties when they are chosen to be the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
Furthermore, Ismail said the usage of the political party or coalition symbols will not be considered by the provisions, adding that the legislation will not be applied retrospectively after it is passed.
Commenting on the Bill, Ismail said this is a historic moment for the country because it was established through negotiations and discussion by both the Opposition and Government.
He added that the Bill should send a “clear message” to all lawmakers to hold on to the principle of the political parties they represent and to uphold the mandate and confidence bestowed to them by voters.
He said the Bill aims to ensure political stability and prevent the country from undergoing a never-ending state of political crisis.
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