Consensus emerges on flaws in the anti-hopping legislation

PERIKATAN Nasional (PN) representatives blocked attempts by Pakatan Harapan (PH) to introduce stringent laws that would force MPs to vacate their seats should they go against the party whip, said PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail who is also the Home Minister.

“PH’s position was that MPs who act against the decision of the whip on matters such as the supply bill, vote of confidence and any bill that implies the position of the government would have lost their seat and a by-election would be called,” he penned in a Facebook post.

“PN was represented by Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan. PN did not agree with PH’s proposals.”

With this statement, he joins a cohort of political leaders who agree that the anti-hopping laws are flawed and need refining.

Last week, Bersatu called for the Anti-Hopping Law (AHL) to be reviewed after four of its MPs announced their support for Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the law needs to be reviewed as it has several flaws including the status of the Dewan Rakyat speaker, who comes from a political party.

“From our discussion earlier, Bersatu is of the opinion that the AHL has to be reviewed as it has several weaknesses.

“For example, in the case of four Bersatu MPs from Sabah who quit the party. The case has yet to be decided by the court but the Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul made his own decision that the MPs did not break any law.”

Moreover, Muhyiddin was referring to a judicial review application by Bersatu to declare vacant the four parliamentary seats in Sabah namely Papar, Batu Sapi, Ranau and Sipitang for quitting as Bersatu members to join another faction.

The party mounted the challenge after Johari decided that the four MPs need not vacate their seats based on the interpretation of the constitution of GRS and Bersatu.

Meanwhile, former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said an anti-hopping clause rejected by Bersatu when the law was drafted has returned to haunt the party after four of its MPs pledged support for Anwar’s government.

He added that the draft anti-hopping bill presented to the Cabinet by former law minister Tan Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar contained a provision to declare a seat vacant if an MP went against the party stance or failed to comply with the party whip in the Dewan Rakyat.

The former UMNO man then noted that Bersatu was adamantly against the clause, which was subsequently removed from the bill tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

“The irony is that the ministers who had opposed the original draft are now the victims of this lack of provision,” said Khairy in the latest episode of Keluar Sekejap podcast.

Furthermore, four MPs from Bersatu recently pledged their support for the Anwar government. They are Jeli MP Zahari Kechik, Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid and Labuan MP Suhaili Abdul Rahman.

Wan Junaidi told Sinar Harian that his original bill in 2021 addressed the loopholes that were recently used by four Bersatu MPs to go against PN and back Anwar.

He further added that four cabinet ministers during the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration objected to a clause that stated if an MP changed their support in the Dewan Rakyat to the opposing bloc, the anti-hopping law would be triggered.

“When the cabinet rejected the original draft, I had to renegotiate with all political parties and revamp it.” – Nov 11, 2023


Main photo credit: The Star

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