Friday 24 August 2012

Selangor urged to enact 'anti-hopping' law, too

After the Penang government announced that it will enact an 'anti-hopping’ law, another state ruled by Pakatan Rakyat is now under pressure to legislate the same law.

teoh beng hock inquest 011009 gobind singhPuchong MP Gobind Singh (left), from DAP, urged the Selangor government to follow in the footsteps of Penang.

“A vibrant democracy ought not to take lightly the choice of the people in electing their representatives during an election.

“The law has to focus on the impact upon the people when an elected representative turns over in support of those very people his constituents voted against during the election.

“This is not just a betrayal of the trust of the people, it is also morally wrong,” Gobind said in a statement today.

While there must be great respect and regard for freedom of association as enunciated in the federal constitution, said the lawyer, the values to be attributed to the choice made by the people in exercising their democratic right to vote in an election must surely be far more important.

“Anything else would make the concept of democratic elections senseless and redundant.”

Righting the wrong

He shared the view of his father DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh, that Pakatan should not just sit back in silence and do nothing about the previous decision held by the Supreme Court that such a law was against Article 10 of the federal constitution.

“It is appalling to note how pessimistic Barisan Nasional (BN) is in dismissing the matter by reference to the Supreme Court ruling alone.

“If something is wrong, we must correct it. This could either be by way of legislation or review of judicial pronouncements expressing views to the contrary,” Gobind said.

Citing the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA), he said the same can be done at both federal and state level to “correct” this issue.

“The DAP has said quite clearly that it is against party-hopping. It is therefore now up to BN to table the necessary changes. With our support, the constitution can be amended to correct the position,” he added.

The Kelantan government, led by PAS, had in 1991 amended the state constitution to revoke the qualification of assemblypersons if they lose their political party membership.

The amendment was challenged in court and the Kuala Lumpur High Court in 1991 held that the amendment was void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the federal constitution.

The decision was later upheld by a five-member bench of the Supreme Court which said that the amendment contravened the right of association guaranteed under Article 10(1)(c).

Just a publicity stunt?

The matter was raised again recently when Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the Penang state assembly, in its November sitting, intended to legislate a law to prevent state legislative assemblypersons from defecting mid-term.

Yesterday MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek slammed the move, deeming it a publicity stunt.

Its deputy publicity bureau chief Loh Seng Kok also dared all Pakatan component parties to issue a joint statement denouncing defected elected representatives if they are sincere.

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