The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government appeared not in favour of formulating an anti-hopping law to stop political uncertainty as it goes against the fundamental rights to association, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“At this stage, the government is of the view that the rights to association for every citizen is still guaranteed in the Constitution.
“On the rights to association, it was heard and decided by the Federal Court (before),” de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan (above) told Ramkarpal Singh (Pakatan Harapan-Bukit Gelugor) in a parliamentary reply yesterday.
“However, if the government feels there is a need to formulate an anti-hopping law in future, definitely we will study the matter thoroughly, including comparing it with the best practices of other countries,” Takiyuddin said
everal lawmakers from both sides spoke to The Vibes and said they are aware of the opposition to the bill from within the government.
Sources also claimed that Bersatu’s view on the matter was brought up in yesterday’s cabinet meeting.
This might be among the considerations given as to why the government decided to postpone the tabling of the bill, with law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar saying further studies will be conducted on what defines “party-hopping”.
PN ministers and deputy ministers, when contacted, neither confirmed nor denied suggestions that their parties are holding back support for the bill.
“I don’t want to comment yet. The matter is still being discussed in Bersatu. You will have to wait for a statement by the president,” said a Bersatu leader.
A fellow Bersatu cabinet member, when asked, said he could not speak on behalf of his party.
PAS’ Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, meanwhile, said his party has yet to make a decision, adding that the matter will be deliberated with Bersatu.
While the exact motivation behind Bersatu’s apprehension towards the proposed law is uncertain, the political outfit is currently made up largely of party-hoppers.
‘Support bill if you’re sincere’
Speaking to The Vibes, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he is aware of the pushback from parties like Bersatu in supporting the government’s bid to pass the anti-hopping law.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) chief whip, however, urged all parties to support the Bill if they were truly sincere about championing the voices of the people.
“What’s important is the interest of the nation. I hope they recognise this.”
Pejuang secretary-general and Kubang Pasu MP Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said he is made to understand that the reason the tabling of the bill has been pushed back several times is due to opposition from Bersatu.
With a constitutional amendment also required to pass the law, he said this could have pressured the government to postpone the tabling, fearing it would fail to obtain the elusive two-thirds support required.
Anti-hopping law to be tabled in Parliament July 18, expected to be gazetted by Sept if approved
The draft for a proposed Bill to amend the Federal Constitution to enable the prevention of party-hopping among MPs has been finalised today by the parliamentary special select committee overseeing it, with the Bill and the committee’s report to be placed on July 18 on the MPs’ tables in the Dewan Rakyat on July 18, minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today.
Wan Junaidi, who is the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary and legal affairs, said that this committee had also answered several questions raised by some ministers during a June 1 Cabinet meeting and that these were brought to a Cabinet meeting this morning.
The special select committee looking into the Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Bill 2022 and in relation to provisions prohibiting MPs from party-hopping’s report would serve as a reference to MPs when placed on their tables on July 18, he said.
Wan Junaidi said a timeline had also been agreed upon today for this Bill, where it is proposed that the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) of the Prime Minister’s Department and the Attorney General’s Chambers hold an engagement with government MPs on July 25 and an engagement session with Opposition MPs on July 26, followed by proposed debates on July 27 and July 28 in the Dewan Rakyat subject to the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s discretion.
The timeline also proposes for an engagement session with Dewan Negara members on August 8, followed by the first reading in the Dewan Negara on August 9 and the second reading on August 10.
After the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara approves the Bill, Wan Junaidi added that the Bill would then be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong between August 11 and August 26 for royal assent, and that it is then expected to be gazetted between August 29 and September 2.