States advised to adopt Federal anti-hopping law format for uniformity


PUTRAJAYA: The states should adopt the format of the Federal anti-party hopping law for the sake of uniformity, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said it was each state's right to decide whether or not to implement a law to prevent switching of political parties among their assemblymen.

"The Federal law only affects Members of Parliament (MPs) who switch parties.

"To prevent assemblymen from jumping, each state needs to amend its own constitution. Currently, only four states, namely Sarawak, Kelantan, Penang and Sabah, have their own anti-hopping laws.

"The best move would be for all states to follow the Federal format for the sake of uniformity," he said in a media interview at his office here on Tuesday (Aug 16).

Wan Junaidi said several states had also expressed their willingness to amend their constitutions to implement the legislation.

Commenting on the recent case of Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who quit Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) to become an independent, Wan Junaidi said this was a good example where Putrajaya and states differed on how anti-hopping laws should work.

Under Article 17(7)(a) of the Sarawak state constitution, an assemblyman who has given a written undertaking to the State Legislative Assembly that he will not resign from the political party to which he belonged to when he was elected, shall be disqualified as a representative if he leaves that party.

"It seems that See will not be caught by the Sarawak state anti-hopping law (as he did not give that written undertaking to the assembly).

"However, were he an MP, he would lose his seat for resigning from his party to become an independent, under the law that Parliament just passed," he said.

On July 28, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022 to prevent party hopping by MPs.

The Constitutional amendments were subsequently approved by the Dewan Negara on Aug 9.

Wan Junaidi said the Federal anti-party hopping law is expected to come into force by mid-September.

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