Support me on bill, Karpal urges BN

He says his proposed anti-hopping law was important to stop future political coup d’etat to form governments by defections. 

Athi Shankar, FMT

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh has called on Barisan Nasional parliamentarians to support his imminent private members’ bill to amend the Federal Constitution to stop party hopping.

He said BN reps should back him to uphold public interests and political stability of the country.

Karpal’s initiatives are to amend Articles 10 and 48 of the Federal Constitution to pave way for the federal and state anti-hopping legislations to stop MPs and assemblymen from hopping to another party after being elected by voters under another party candidature.

Karpal will table his private bill to make the constitutional amendments in coming week parliamentary session.

He said his amendments were important to stop future political coup d’etat to form governments by defections as a government should only be formed through legitimate elections.

He said political defections were not only unethical practice, dangerous trend and betrayal against people’s mandate, but could cause political uncertainty, destabilise a government, trigger public anxiety and frighten off investors.

Article 10(1)(C) guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of association. Article 48(6) and sub-section 6 (5) Schedule Eight respectively stipulate that a MP or state assemblyman who resigned be disqualified from contesting as a member of the House of Representatives for a period of five years effective from the date of resignation.

In the case of Kelantan Legislature vs Nordin Salleh, the then Supreme Court ruled on April 3, 1992 that the PAS-helmed state government’s enactment outlawing party hopping was unconstitutional.

The court ruled that it violated Article 10 as it affected one’s right to freedom to association.

Despite the legal barriers, the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government passed a Penang State Constitution Enactment (Amendment) Bill 2012 on Nov 1 to end party hopping in Penang.

However, Karpal said Penang’s amendment can only gain legitimacy strength if amendments were done to Federal Constitution.

He pointed out the failure to party hopping via state constitutional amendments made in Sabah in 1980s and Kelantan in early 1990s to back his argument.

“Without the constitutional amendments, any anti-hopping law would be void,” said Karpal, the two-term Bukit Gelugor MP.

He said it was important for the federal and state governments to legislate anti-hopping laws to stop the breeding of political frogs.

“I hope the BN reps would support my private members’ bill,” said Karpal, also a senior lawyer.