With the introduction of the new anti-hopping provision in our Federal Constitution, the 15th General Election (GE15) is set to create an unprecedented moment in Malaysian history as elected representatives no longer have the option to hop across political parties to form the federal government.
Speaking to Bernama, political analyst Dr Md Shukri Shuib explained that the anti-hopping law said that, however, the law applies only to the MPs who hop to another party and those who quit their own party.
“An MP cannot quit his party. However, if he is sacked from the party, the anti-hopping law does not apply to him. His sacking will affect his party. It is the party that will lose the seat. This is the tricky part,” he explained.
The GE15 results ended with a hung Parliament as no party were able to obtain a simple majority of 112 seats in the 222-seat Parliament to form the new government.
While Pakatan Harapan (PH) is negotiating with BN to obtain its support to form the next federal government, some elected representatives wish to work with Perikatan Nasional (PN). Thus, this raises the question of the significance of the anti-party hopping law.
No more ‘katak’
According to Md Shukri, he said that facing such circumstances, the Barisan chairman must find a way to resolve all internal issues in the coalition by holding talks among its component leaders.
“Those who do not support the chairman’s ‘move’ cannot jump ship and the chairman, of course, would not want to sack them and risk losing their seats. This can cause a flaw in the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, another expert, Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz said that the anti-hopping law stated that three types of situations can be considered as party-hopping thus, triggering a by-election.
“First situation, an MP from party A jumped to party B. Second situation, an independent MP joined a party. And the third situation is when an MP quit his party to become Independent MP. These are the situations that can cause the seat to be declared vacant.”
“If the MP is sacked from his party, he will not lose his seat and he will remain as MP,” she said.
Unity government is the best solution
Political analyst from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said that the best solution for the current state of a hung Parliament is to create a unity government.
He then said that the situation now is very similar to the 13 May 1969 incident when the country was governed by the National Operations Council, better known by its Malay acronym Mageran, which finally managed to ease the political tension at that time.
“If the situation is prolonged where no party gets a simple majority, the current precarious situation will be protracted.”
“To avoid this from happening, the parties involved, PH, PN, BN, GPS, GRS must take the initiative to form the government to stabilise the country and eventually elect a prime minister among them,” he added.