S'gor assembly to forward motion on party-hopping in Parliament, says state speaker

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 18 Jul 2020

KLANG: The Selangor Legislative Assembly will forward to Parliament a motion for the proposed formulation of law to prevent MPs and state assemblymen from party-hopping.

Selangor Speaker Ng Suee Lim (pic), when contacted, said the motion will be forwarded to Parliament as soon as possible.

Bukit Gasing's DAP assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran had initially mooted on Thursday ((July 16) for the state to pass laws to prohibit elected representatives from switching parties while still in office.

In the event if they wanted to do so, they would need to resign first.

However, the formulation and passing of such a law was not within the ambit of the state government.

Ng said although the House understood the need for such a law, state governments did not have the locus standi to pass party-hopping laws.

"In 1992 the Supreme Court held in Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan v Nordin Salleh that an amendment in the Kelantan state constitution prohibiting party-hopping contradicted Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution which allows freedom of association," said Ng.

Given this, he added, if he had allowed the motion to go through, it would have been a direct contradiction of the Supreme Court decision.

It would have also given the state legal adviser a mammoth headache, added Ng.

"But because we understood YB Rajiv's intent, we rectified the motion.

"The new motion 'urges the Federal Government to formulate a party-hopping law whereby if an elected representative jumps party, his seat will be vacated in order to preserve the people's mandate'," added Ng.

DAP's Bandar Baru Klang assemblyman Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who had corrected Rajiv's original motion in the state legislative assembly, said besides the freedom of association, Article 10(1)(c) also guaranteed the freedom of disassociation.

"However, Parliament may impose a restriction on the right of disassociation in the interest of security, public order and morality,'' he told The Star.

Hence, said Teng, Parliament can come up with a new law to stop party-hopping if it sees fit to do so.

Meanwhile, Selangor Opposition chief Umno's Sungai Air Tawar assemblyman Rizam Ismail said his bloc did not support or oppose Rajiv's motion.

"We abstained but our Sungai Air Tawar assemblyman Datuk Mohd Imran Tamrin pointed out that the initial motion cannot be passed as the state does not have the authority to do so,'' said Rizam.

Rizam also declined to comment on party-hopping as it was a sensitive matter.

"As the Opposition chief, I am working hard on strengthening our bloc and I don't want to say anything which may be inappropriate,'' he added.

Selangor's Opposition bloc which had merely five members post-GE14 now has 15 members.

In an earlier interview with The Star, Selangor PAS commissioner and Sijangkang assemblyman Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi said party-hopping was wrong.

He said elected representatives must remember that they were voted in on the ticket of the parties they had belonged to at the time of the general election.

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