Anti-hopping law: It’s the principle, not the numbers

IT is ridiculous to allow for mass hopping in circumstances where a particular party fails to secure 50% support from the people. 

I quite agree with the former law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that there is no difference between individual party-hopping and mass party-hopping. 

The suggestion by the former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not make sense. 

I am not sure why he made this point as maybe he thinks that if mass hopping is allowed, a party like Pejuang might potentially benefit from such move. 

Or, he might not realise, if mass hopping is permitted, smaller parties like Pejuang could be wiped out totally. 

Mahathir clarified his statement by saying that mass hopping is conditional and can only be permitted under circumstances where one party has less than 50% of the popular votes. 

Thus, under these circumstances, there should be an option for a mass crossover, without being labelled as party defection. 

Leap-frogging from one party is the same as mass party-hopping. 

The definition of party hopping or defection is not changed in accordance with numbers, either by adding or subtracting. 

It is the principle that counts – this is something that is universally accepted in democratic countries. 

Malaysia might be late entrant, but the law has finally appeared. 

The fundamental principle of party defection must be not be permitted by the law and this is why the Parliament passed the bill on anti-hopping yesterday with more than two-thirds support. 

Once the upper house of the Parliament approves the bill, the anti-hopping bill will be gazetted as a law. 

While the anti-hoping legislation might not be perfect, it provides the bare essentials in curbing the curse of party defections. 

Without this legislation, electoral politics in the country will akin to a game of musical chairs. It is already a nightmare. 

The “Sheraton Move” in 2018 is one example of how the mandate of the people was shamelessly violated. 

The strange thing is that those who violated the mandate given by the people are roaming the corridors of power. 

If there existed a law on anti-hopping before Pakatan Harapan (PH) came to power at the national level, the infamous “Sheraton Move” could have been avoided. 

No country in the world might succeed in passing a comprehensive law on anti-hopping in the first instance. 

I understand that India had revisited the anti-defection law twice to deal with the changing political circumstances. 

Similarly, Malaysia might have to revisit the anti-hopping law in the future to render it more comprehensive and responsive to changes. 

It is a good start, with significant credit to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the government and the opposition. 

However, on Wednesday (July 27) Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the MOU will not be extended. 

The minute the anti-hopping bill was passed in the lower house of the Parliament, the MOU was “shredded” in pieces. 

Only the apologists and sentimentalists might bemoan the disappearance of the MOU. 

The passage of the anti-hopping law was the only silver lining to the MOU. 

At the end of the day, it appears that the MOU was more in favour of the Government than the opposition. 

Since the anti-hopping law is out of the way, all eyes are on the GE15. 

I wonder whether the opposition can derive electoral support from signing the MOU, or is it going to become an albatross around the opposition’s neck for some time to come. – July 29, 2022 


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang. 

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia. 

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE