PBS calls on all M'sians to back anti-party hopping law, take part in survey, says sec-gen

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) calls on all Malaysians and lawmakers to support a proposed law to stop party hopping.

PBS secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (pic) said as a party that had fallen victim to party-hopping leaders in the 1990s, the law was relevant now more than ever due to the current political situation.

He said the role of elected assemblymen and MPs were important in a parliamentary democracy like Malaysia because they are the representatives of the people.

“It is the people that elect these leaders to represent them in the legislative assemblies and parliament, and therefore if the representatives are elected on a party platform, it is only fair to remain loyal to the party that they were voted in for,” he said.

Urging the public to participate in the anti-party hopping law survey currently being conducted by the Legal Affairs Division in the Prime Minister's Department (PMD), which ends on Dec 7, Bangkuai said public input and views were crucial to illustrate their support for the proposed law.

"We need an effective law to stop lawmakers from switching parties, hence the need for support and input from all Malaysians," he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Parliament and Law) had last week announced that a survey spearheaded by the Legal Affairs Division would be conducted to gather feedback from the public on the proposed Bill to curb party hopping.

Wan Junaidi also revealed that a draft Bill had already been prepared but was still under embargo as there were still many policy matters that remained unanswered.

PBS, during its rule in Sabah, took the bold move to pass a law in 1988 to prevent elected representatives from switching parties, but it was declared null and void by the High Court thereafter.

"As a victim of party hopping in 1994, PBS appreciates and lauds the current government's proposal to table an Anti-Party Hopping Bill in Parliament which to us is a demonstration that it (the government) is receptive to the wishes of the people," Bangkuai said.

PBS swept to power in Sabah in 1985 and successfully weathered a snap election in 1986 brought about by the defection of two of its assemblymen, and subsequently won the state elections in 1990 and 1994.

However, barely two months after the 1994 election, the Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan-led PBS state government collapsed when three of its assemblymen switched parties.

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