Anti-hopping law against constitution, says Nazri

(The Star) – ANY law that prohibits an elected representative from moving from one party to another would go against Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which protects the freedom of association, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.

“Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association. Any individual is free to join any party without having to vacate their seats as a penalty,” he told Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) in a written reply.

Karpal had asked the Government whether it would support Pakatan Rakyat MPs idea in proposing a change to the Federal Constitution to bring in an “anti-hopping law”.

Nazri said any proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution was a policy issue which needed to be studied as a whole, next to other related laws.

“The Federal and respective state constitutions, as well as the Elections Act 1958, only authorise the Election Commission to determine whether or not a seat is vacant after receiving notice from the speaker of Parliament or a state assembly.”

He also noted that existing laws do not empower the EC to determine penalties against elected representatives who change parties.