Sabah political leaders hoping anti-hopping law will be tabled in May

A file picture of the Sabah State Assembly building. (NORMIMIE DIUN/The Star)

KOTA KINABALU: Leaders of political parties here are waiting to see if the anti-hopping law will be tabled at the Sabah Legislative Assembly in May.

There has been no official announcement yet if the state government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor will table the Bill during the four-day sitting from May 22-25.

However, anticipation is high among Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition partners and the opposition.

State Barisan Nasional and Umno chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin is hopeful the anti-hopping law adopted by the Federal Government in October is put in place in the state to stop assemblymen from defecting.

Bung Moktar, whose party lost several assemblymen who aligned with GRS or joined Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (Gagasan Rakyat) led by Hajiji, pointed out the Chief Minister had indicated last November that the anti-defection law would be adopted.

"It would be best to table it in the next coming assembly session," he said.

Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon is among leaders who want the Bill tabled.

"I hope the government tables it for political stability for now and for the sake of Sabah's future," said Poon, whose party is part of the state's unity government under the Pakatan Harapan-GRS pact.

Similarly, state Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister Phoong Jin Tze also said Pakatan Harapan wants the anti-hopping Bill tabled in the assembly.

However, the Sabah DAP secretary said he was not present at the last cabinet meeting and was not certain about the latest developments concerning the Bill.

Sabah assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Kadzim Yahya said they had not been informed by the government as yet of the Bills to be tabled at the first sitting for this year which will be opened by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

" We have yet to be notified by the government on the Bills to be tabled in the coming sitting," he said when contacted.

Since the Sabah elections on Sept 26, 2020, more than half of the 73 elected assemblymen have defected from their original parties.

Among those to defect was Hajiji, who led a mass crossover of leaders from Sabah Bersatu to Gagasan Rakyat on Dec 8.

Parti Warisan and Sabah Barisan also lost assemblymen in subsequent crossovers that gave GRS a more than two-thirds majority in the assembly.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has recently said he wanted to table a private member's Bill on the anti-hopping law if the state government does not table it.

Some state government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a high likelihood for the Bill to be tabled.

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