Federal Constitution prevails in anti-party hopping matters, says Sabah Bersatu secretary

Sabah Bersatu secretary Abdul Kadir Abdullah Damsal.

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Constitution is supreme and assemblymen are subject to the anti-party hopping law that came into effect in October 2022, says Sabah Bersatu secretary Abdul Kadir Abdullah Damsal.

He raised the issue in the wake of a number of Sabah assemblymen leaving their parties – including from Sabah Bersatu – since December last year.

Abdul Kadir said that under Article 75 of the Federal Constitution clearly states that if any state law is inconsistent with the federal law, the latter will prevail.

"The state law – to the extent of the inconsistency – will be void," he said reading out the Article.

He said there was a legal question if assemblymen in states which have yet to adopt the anti-hopping law were in breach of the Federal Constitution.

According to Abdul Kadir, it was "void ab initio" (void from the beginning) when the federal anti-hopping law came into force.

Therefore, any MP or state assemblyman who switched parties after that date would be caught by the new Article 49A and Section 7A Part 1 of the Eight Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

He added that incorporating anti-party hopping laws into the state constitution was a mere formality where the Prime Minister issues a request to each state to streamline the state constitution with the Federal Constitution.

"Parties like Parti Warisan and Sabah Umno should seek the vacancy of seats whose assemblymen recently quit to join Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah, but they should also seek the vacancy of the seats now held by former Bersatu assemblymen who have left the party for Gagasan Rakyat," said Abdul Kadir, a former magistrate turned technocrat and politician.

Abdul Kadir, who was chief executive officer of three GLCs including Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd (ICSB) the investment arm of Yayasan Sabah and later helmed the Sabah Oil and Gas Development Corporation Sdn Bhd, was recently endorsed as Sabah Bersatu secretary by Party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Abdul Kadir has been tasked to assist rebuilding Bersatu with party vice president Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee after Hajiji led a massive defection from the party to become direct members of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah on Dec 8.

Bersatu lost all its 15 assemblymen during the defection, leaving only Kiandee, the Beluran MP.

Abdul Kadir said under the leadership of Kiandee, all 25 divisions in the state would be back in order following the defections.

Kadir was previously the Sabah Bersatu strategy and election unit secretary and also Sabah Bersatu Malaysia Agreement 1963 committee secretary.

Abdul Kadir, who is Batu Sapi Bersatu chief, is from a Sandakan political family whose two elder brothers previously held the Sekong state seat.

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