‘Ayes’ for anti-hopping Bill

  • Nation
  • Friday, 02 Nov 2012

GEORGE TOWN: The anti-hopping Bill was passed with two-thirds majority.

After two rounds of voting, 27 of the 31 assemblymen present in the House yesterday gave their “aye” to the Penang State Constitution Enactment (Amendment) Bill to ban party-hopping.

Four Opposition members – Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya (BN-Teluk Bahang), Datuk Jasmin Mohamed (BN-Sungai Dua), Datuk Mahmud Zakaria (BN-Sungai Acheh) and Zabariah Abdul Wahab (BN-Bertam) – abstained from voting.

Earlier in his speech, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Bill was drafted based on three principles – the sovereignty of the people under a parliamentary democracy system, freedom of association and principles of accountability.

“The Bill proposes to amend the state Constitution by inserting a new Article 14A, titled ‘Change of a political party’, after Article 14.

“Clause (1) of the new Article provides that any member of the House elected as a candidate of a political party must vacate his seat upon quitting the party.

“A member elected as an independent candidate must vacate his seat if he joins a political party,” said Lim, who later described the passing of the Bill as a “historic event”.

Jasmin said the Bill should not have been passed as it still needed further review and study.

Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah (BN-Seberang Jaya) said the Bill was not complete.

“We want to stay neutral as the information is incomplete,” he said.

Meanwhile, state Opposition Leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim’s last term as an elected state representative ended with a six-month suspension from the House.

Azhar, 66, who had earlier said that he would not defend his Penaga state seat after serving for four terms, was suspended for alleging that the Hansard could have been manipulated.

He had claimed that the assembly had manipulated the Hansard report which contained a debate between Lim and Dr Hilmi over the demolition of the Sri Muniswaran temple.

“The majority of the committee are state leaders, so no matter what I say, they have already decided to suspend me.

“This is a ‘kangaroo court’,” he said, adding that Dr Hilmi would be taking over as state Opposition Leader in the House.

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