Opposition MP support for PM does not violate Anti-Party Hopping Act, says Azalina

KUALA LUMPUR: The action of several Members of Parliament (MPs) from the opposition bloc in pledging their support to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Unity Government recently does not violate the Anti-Party Hopping or the Constitution (Amendment) Act (No.3) 2022 (Act A1663), says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (pic).

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) said it was because all the MPs pledged their support without quitting their political parties.

"The Anti-Party Hopping Act means jumping from one party to another. If we read the debates to create the act in previous (Parliament) sessions, the emphasis was more on leaving the party they represented when contesting. However, today they are not leaving the party, only pledging support...and the government has already been formed.”

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She said this when appearing as a guest on the ‘Suara Anak Madani’ programme that also featured Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil at the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara), here, Thursday (Dec 7).

However, Azalina, who is also Umno information chief, said it was the prerogative of the relevant parties to take any disciplinary action due to a violation.

Elaborating, she said the former law minister, Tan Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who brought the motion for the act last year, explained that pledging support to the government without jumping parties is not a violation of the relevant constitutional amendments.

The Constitution (Amendment) Act (No.3) 2022 that prohibits Dewan Rakyat members from jumping parties was passed on July 28, 2022, and came into force on Oct 5, 2022.

Azalina also denied allegations that the government offered inducements to MPs who pledged their support to the Prime Minister, thus breaching the act.

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Bukit Gantang MP Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal is the latest opposition MP to express support for the Prime Minister’s leadership after Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar) and Datuk Dr Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

Meanwhile, Azalina also urged the opposition MPs to be more mature in providing criticisms in the Parliament instead of being hateful and extreme.

"We adopt the Westminster system and have shadow ministers. It is fairer and more appropriate if we criticise based on policies. For example, the shadow communications minister might say if we were the government, we would not do that. It’s more of an intellectual discussion, and for me, Malaysians are a thinking population, and they can choose,” he said.

‘Suara Anak Madani’ is a talk show moderated by the Senior Political Secretary to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, engaging in casual discussions about policies or hot issues with guests.

The programme is streamed on the Suara Anak Madani Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube in conjunction with the formation of the Madani Government led by Anwar. - Bernama

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