Most states ready to act, Kelantan wants time

PETALING JAYA: Several states have indicated their readiness to enact anti-party hopping laws.

Selangor is committed to enacting such laws, said its Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.

He said that amendments to prevent party hopping are expected to be tabled at the next state assembly meeting, which is scheduled for November.

It is among the states which have voiced their willingness to implement laws to stop party-hopping.

In the case of Kelantan, its deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the state has yet to decide on the matter.

He said a comprehensive study was needed first.

“Previously, Kelantan had some experience with anti-party hopping law, which was nearly implemented in the state in the early 1990s.

“We will study all aspects on whether we can use the previous one or whether we need to update it to meet with the current situation,” he said.

When contacted, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said that all states under the Barisan Nasional administration are required to take the necessary measures to amend their state laws to ensure they are in line at the federal level.

Political analysts pointed out that there are no constitutional requirements to compel states to follow the federal anti-hopping law, but it is politically pragmatic to enact similar legislation to deter party-hopping at the state level.

According to them, this would help ensure political stability.

Dr Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that it would be wise and pragmatic for states to enact similar amendments.

This would help avoid the “painful experience” by both sides of the political divide when state governments change hands due to party-hopping by assemblymen, he said.

Such state constitutional amendments to deter party-hopping should be adopted, perhaps to the extent of the stricter Penang enactment, which was recently declared constitutional by the Federal Court, he said when contacted.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that he would be telling all state governments to amend their respective state constitutions, in line with the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) on provisions that prohibit Members of Parliament from switching parties.

Senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research Dr Azmi Hassan said it was important for the state governments to amend their respective constitutions due to the similarity in political scenarios at the federal and state level.

“This is because there could be a possibility of a slim majority even at the state level post-GE15 (15th General Election).

“Whichever party that wins the election may face a slim majority, except perhaps for Melaka and Johor.

“If they have their own anti-party hopping enactments, stability can be ensured.”

He said voters are also entitled to know the stand of each party on anti-party hopping laws at the state level.

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anti-party hopping , laws , state assembly


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