KOTA KINABALU: The revisiting of the anti-hopping law for Sabah is something that needs to be seriously looked into, especially in this unstable political scenario in the state and country, says DAP’s Phoong Jin Zhe.
The state DAP’s Youth wing (Dapsy) chief said he supports the call for this anti-hopping law as party hopping among elected assemblymen has become a norm in Sabah.
“It is an open secret that Malaysian politics and more notoriously, Sabah politics has always been plagued by the culture of horse-trading for personal gratification or political mileage, ” he said in a statement here on Saturday (July 25).
This comes after Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said they may relook at the anti-hopping law for Sabah.
Phoong said this can be seen even more so recently where allegations have surfaced of "political agents" showing up at the doors of state assemblymen, offering positions and money for them to support the Opposition bloc.
He said there was nothing novel with such a law as other state governments, namely Penang which has already enacted such a law under Article 14(A)(1) of the Constitution of the State of Penang (Amendment) Enactment 2012.
He said Selangor had also during its state assembly recently tabled a motion for the same provision to be made into law at the Federal level.
Article 10 of the Federal Constitution - freedom to associate, I would like to offer my five cents, ” Phoong said.
He said the freedoms guaranteed under Article 10 namely, (1)(a) freedom of speech and expression, (1)(b) right to assembly peaceably and without arms, and (1)(c) right to form associations, are not absolute rights in that their limitations.
He said specifically on the constitutionality of anti-hopping law, the point of contention being that such a law would infringe Article 10(1)(c), he feels that when a member of the public sets himself up as a representative of the people, his mandate must be limited to that which he has promised to carry out, either by his promises or the party manifesto he contested under.
“In other words, an elected assemblyman or MP must represent the people under the party which he or she had contested in the election, ” Phoong said.
He said if the representative wishes to switch alliance or parties, he should vacate his seat and return the mandate to the people for them to decide if he is worthy to represent them again under a different party.
He said Article 10(2) stated clearly that Parliament may, by law, impose such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.
“In light of allegations of harassment and door-to-door threats on several Sabah assemblymen recently, I submit that an anti-hopping law is justified on the account of public order and morality, and is therefore constitutional, ” Phoong said.
An earlier anti-hopping law in Sabah was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1992.