Anti-hopping law goes on back burner in Sabah

Possible realignment: Hajiji (right) with Bung Moktar before the tabling of the Budget in Kota Kinabalu. Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is holding back on adopting the anti-hopping law following possible realignment among political parties in the state.

The state indicated it would not be tabling the Bill during the current Budget session which started on Friday.

Instead, all the focus had been on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, who tabled a RM5.138bil budget – the largest in the state’s history.

He said the state would not be tabling the Bill during the week-long session.

Prior to the 15th General Election (GE15), the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Barisan Nasional-led state government said it was planning to introduce the anti-hopping law in late November.

The state had also wanted to ensure it obtained a clear consensus from at least two-thirds of the 79 assemblymen for the law to be incorporated into the state Constitution.

But following the outcome of GE15, both GRS and Barisan have thrown their support behind Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Ironically, Sabah Pakatan Harapan and Parti Warisan are also aligned to Anwar’s unity government in Putrajaya.

This has blurred the lines between foes and allies at the state level, leading to speculation assemblymen may shift allegiances.

As it stands, GRS and Barisan have the combined support of 46 assemblymen with seven other friendly assemblymen – three from Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM), one each from Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (Harapan Rakyat) along with PAS and an Independent.

Meanwhile, opposition Warisan has 19 assemblymen and Sabah Pakatan seven.

Political observers have not ruled out re-alignments within the GRS-Barisan partnership in Sabah as the Federal Government takes shape in Putrajaya.

Observers believe that holding back of the anti-hopping law would allow GRS or Barisan to welcome defectors to boost their ranks and strengthen their positions in Sabah.

They expect the movement of assemblymen could take place soon as the federal Cabinet is formalised.

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