Consider establishing anti-hopping laws

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar yesterday again called on the government to consider enacting anti-hopping legislation during the upcoming Dewan Rakyat sittings to prevent lawmakers from switching parties.

Its president Salim Bashir said this followed after Malaysia went through a series of political upheavals that have drawn great concerns amongst the people in recent months.

“The Malaysian Bar takes the view that there is no prohibition for Parliament to legislate anti-hopping laws at the Federal level despite the 1992 apex court ruling in Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v Nordin bin Salleh & Anor. Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution provides that every citizen has the right to freedom of association.

“However, it is also enshrined in our Federal Constitution under Article 10(2) that Parliament may by law impose restrictions as it deemed necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.

“We are of the opinion that changing parties after being voted in by the rakyat constitutes a betrayal of the trust that was vested in them. Such behaviour is politically unethical and should be avoided in order to preserve the democratic structure of our nation,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Anti-defection laws, he added, were imperative to enhance political stability and public confidence in the democratic process, as well as to not undermine the decision made by the electorate.

Therefore, crossing the floor in the State Assembly or Federal Parliament should be made unlawful in order to preserve the rule of law and constitutional integrity, he added. – Bernama

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