Urgent need to enact anti-hopping laws

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Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

It is high time for Malaysia to enact laws that make crossing of the floor in the state assembly or the federal Parliament illegal, the Malaysian Bar says.

In view of the current political turmoil, it is timely that the government considers enacting anti-hopping legislation to prevent lawmakers from switching parties.

Notwithstanding the judicial pronouncement in Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v Nordin bin Salleh & Anor [1992], the Malaysian Bar is of the view that there is no prohibition from the said case for Parliament to legislate anti-defection laws at the federal level.

Article 10(2)(c) of the Federal Constitution provides that Parliament may by federal law impose restrictions on the freedom to form associations in the interest of security, public order or morality.

We are of the view that the switching of political allegiances after being voted in by the rakyat, can be considered as a betrayal of trust and politically immoral.

Anti-hopping laws are very much required to enhance political stability, public confidence in the democratic process, and respect for the decision made by the electorate.

In a democratic nation where the rule of law is held sacrosanct, it is high time for Malaysia to enact laws that make crossing of the floor in the state assembly or the federal Parliament illegal.

Salim Bashir is president of the Malaysian Bar

This piece dated 3 August 2020 is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
5 Aug 2020 6.59pm

I just thought of something which we, the ordinary citizens of Malaysia can do on a personal basis: identify the brands and cost of expensive watches on the hands of all our politicians in photos of their public appearances — especially those who are not known to be very rich through inheritance, or success in business or professions, prior to their going into politics. Then as voters we can decide whether to vote for these politicians in future elections. (This would be entirely legal and not constitute harassment in any way)