Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, JOSEPH KAOS, TARRENCE TAN, MUGUNTAN VANAR, JUNAID IBRAHIM and RAGANANTHINI VETHASALAM
KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat voted a resounding yes to pass the anti-hopping law which will be ready for use before the general election.
“All Members of Parliament in the House voted for the law, all 100% of them.
“No one opposed it,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said at a press conference in Parliament’s media centre yesterday.
Earlier, 209 MPs present in the House voted in favour of constitutional amendments to create anti-hopping provisions within the Federal Constitution.
Wan Junaidi said that the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2022 will now be tabled in Dewan Negara for the Senate’s approval.
“We have a timeline and the Bill will be brought to Dewan Negara this Aug 9.
“Once this is done, it will be presented to the King for the royal assent and date of gazettement.
“It should be ready to become law by the first week of September,” added Wan Junaidi.
The last time the House unanimously passed constitutional amendments was in December last year to restore equal status to Sarawak and Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement (MA63).
Earlier in the House, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun explained to MPs that bloc voting was required for constitutional amendments.
Bloc voting was held at the second and third reading stages of the Bill.
Both voting processes saw all MPs voting in favour with none against, while 11 MPs were absent.
“Congratulations to all MPs who have created history today,” Azhar said when announcing the final vote tally yesterday.
The House currently has 220 members following the deaths of Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong in October 2020 and Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman in November that same year.
The Bill to amend the Constitution was tabled for the first reading during a special one-day Dewan Rakyat sitting on April 11.
However, the Bill was referred to a Special Parliamentary Select Committee for further scrutiny following some hiccups.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob read the Bill for the second reading.
The Bera MP described the law as a historic milestone for the nation’s political stability.
The amendment comprises four paragraphs and six clauses.
Among them is a clause that MPs who defect from the political parties they represented as election candidates or those who become independents will have to vacate their Parliamentary seats.
However, there are exemptions for MP’s who change political parties when their former parties have been de-registered or if they are appointed to become Speakers of the House.
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MPs who are sacked from political parties will not lose their seats.
Also not affected by the law are MPs who vote against their party’s wishes.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi acknowledged that no Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs had taken part in the debates.
“Many of them wanted to speak, but most of them were sitting on the front bench (ministers and deputy ministers).
“This was the problem which gave rise to some misconceptions.
“We did not want to break tradition,” he said.
By convention, ministers and deputy ministers do not participate in debates, which are mainly done by backbenchers.
The clarification by Wan Juniadi came after Bersatu MPs were jibed and taunted by several Opposition MPs for being “frogs” who did not participate in the debates.
Later at a press conference, Larut MP Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said that several Bersatu MPs wanted to debate.
However, the Bersatu secretary-general said most of their MPs were frontbenchers.
“I am a minister, so is Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. There were only one or two of us who were left as backbenchers,” he said.
A total of 54 MPs had taken part in two days of debates.