Tuesday 21 August 2012

Penang mulls law to bar political party hoppers

August 21, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the state is looking at passing an anti-hopping law in November, ahead of the 13th general election that must be called by next April.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, said that he will get the party to “determine whether the state government... can pass an anti-hopping law at the next Penang state assembly.”

His statement comes just a day after DAP chairman Karpal Singh was reported saying that the party “will not tolerate party hopping.”

Lim (picture) said the proposed anti-hopping law would ensure “integrity in politics by preventing wakil rakyat (people’s representatives) from being bought and... not respecting and being in contempt of the mandate being given by the people...”

“Of course it (anti-hopping law) has been declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court but I think we should revisit the law because I think that case was wrongly decided. A view that was shared by some ministers,” he said.

Lim was likely referring to a 1992 decision by the highest court in Malaysia where the judges ruled that an anti-hopping law would go against the freedom of association in the Federal Constitution.

“But let us see whether we can again put out a test case by passing this law at the next state assembly and if it is challenged, we hope the courts of the land can revisit to prevent tadpoles and frogs from being bred recklessly in Malaysia,” he told a news conference in George Town today.

An audio recording of the news conference was made available to The Malaysian Insider.

Malaysia has seen countless politicians from both sides of the political divide switching parties after winning seats.

In Election 2008, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority largely due to significant losses in the peninsula, where it won just 85 seats while the opposition swept 80 seats.

It also lost four states — Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan — to the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

But the defection of four Perak state assemblymen caused the state to fall back into BN’s grasp in 2009.
The east Malaysian state of Sabah had in recent weeks seen three senior BN lawmakers, including two MPs, quitting the coalition and pledging their support for PR.

After the recent Sabah defections, BN now holds 53 parliamentary seats in east Malaysia, while the opposition’s score is four.

The upcoming general election is expected to be the most intense battle between BN and PR.

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