Any amendment to Article 10 must be specific to anti-hopping, without room for misuse – Anwar

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 – Any amendment to Article 10 in the Federal Constitution must be specific to anti-hopping, without room for any future misuse, said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

Giving his support to the Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, which was tabled by Law Minister Datuk Sri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar at a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat today, he said that the enactment clause 10 (3A) was too broad and without narrowing it to anti-hopping, it could be used by any future government to curb the freedom of an elected parliamentarian.

The tabling and debate involves the enactment clause under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution to allow a new law prohibiting MPs from switching parties.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sunday had expressed confidence that the Bill will be approved in Dewan Rakyat and pave the way for an anti-hopping law, which he estimated will be brought to the House in July this year.

He had said that a special committee comprising representatives from the government and Opposition would be tasked to draw up the law, and constitutional experts would be roped in for their views.

A total of 65 MPs were slated to debate the bill, which is expected to wrap up late afternoon today.

A law against party hopping has been mooted for decades by Malaysian politicians, including veterans like Lim Kit Siang and the late Karpal Singh, said DAP Secretary General Anthony Loke, who also supported the bill but emphasized that the committee formed to prepare the draft for the new law must be given adequate time to ensure that the Constitutional amendment is narrowed to the anti-hopping issue, which has given rise to frustration among the people and has resulted in an abrupt change of government and caused political instability.

Pakatan Harapan had signed an MoU with the government, giving commitment to support the Prime Minister and his various plans, with several conditions including the government’s commitment to ensure the passing of a Bill to deter party-hopping.

As of noon Monday, most of MPs who presented their views, were agreeable to the Bill but with the condition that the working committee is able to present a draft that will meet the required change and without compromising on the liberty of lawmakers, and provide voters the assurance they need on the representative they elect to the Parliament.