Monday 20 August 2012

DAP prepared to propose anti-hopping law

DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh said the DAP was against party hopping, and that they have never favoured the matter as it is a serious act of betrayal towards the electorate.

Karpal, a lawyer, said an elected representative or the party concerned should never go against the wishes of the people as they do not have the right to do so.

He ensured that the party would not tolerate any member who did so or accept any justification from anyone who is planning to defect.

NONEHe pointed out that PAS Kelantan had passed a law on party hopping in the past but the court had declared it unlawful, considering the provision of freedom of association in the federal constitution.

"We hope the next general election is clean, with clean candidates who have no baggage or who will not betray the people, " he said at a press conference today.

Karpal (right) was responding to the recent challenge by Penang Gerakan that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng must clarify his position on the defection of elected representatives to rival parties. 

State Gerakan legal and human rights bureau chief Baljit Singh said Lim has yet to make a stand on whether he approves of such defections, which he called "morally wrong".

He criticised the CM for remaining silent when PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim announced that many BN parliamentarians would be crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat on Sept 16 two years ago.

However, Gerakan's coalition BN has been the biggest beneficiary of political turncoats as the defection of three Pakatan state reps allowed the ruling coalition to seize power in Perak in the controversial takeover of 2009.

Constitutional amendment recommended

Karpal said the DAP has agreed to propose an anti-hopping law if Pakatan Rakyat wins federal power so that the constitution can be amended to disallow those who resign from their seats to re-contest.

hee yit fong perak state assembly chaos 070509 01"Some reps are using this (the existing law) as an excuse not to vacate their seats despite leaving their parties," he added.

"There should be no problem for PAS to agree to this as they had passed a law like this in their state assembly.

“We need to convince PKR's leadership. Anyway, nobody dares to support party hopping openly," he said.

Karpal said the constitution has a loophole as someone can vacate his or her seat by not attending a Parliament or state assembly sitting for more than six months.

If he or she does not resign, the five-year suspension (to re-contest in the general election) is not applicable, he explained. 

"Of course, if you miss the Parliament or state assembly sitting for six months, people are not going to choose you as their rep as you have not carried out your responsibilities," he quipped.

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