“If you do the right thing, you will find more friends in PH than in UMNO” — that was my message to the Prime Minister during my debate in the Anti-Hopping Bill tabled in the Parliament yesterday. Though some in UMNO were trying to block the Bill, we the PH has sufficient number to complement those in the Government supporting the Bill, to see the Bill through the 2/3rd majority threshold in Parliament.
The tabling of the Anti-Hopping Bill was one of the main conditions imposed by us Pakatan Harapan in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Government and the PH parties in September, 2021. There were many sceptics who doubt that the Government will honour the terms and thus chided PH for signing the MOU and be so trusting. But we did not stop fighting for the course and trying to achieve our reform agenda. We leveraged on our numbers and the weak position of the current Prime Minister.
The Anti-Hopping Bill proves that our persistence does pay off. Though we are not in the government, we managed to leveraged our numbers to achieve some of our reform agenda for the country and the people. That shows the importance and effectiveness of a strong and united opposition vis-à-vis a weak and divided Ruling government.
The Anti-Hopping Bill was actually the amendment to the Federal Constitution to provide, inter alia, that an Elected Member of Parliament shall cease to be a Member of Parliament if he, having stood as a party’s candidate and winning his seat in a General Election, quits the Party during the term. Thereafter, there shall be a by-election for the vacated seat. The amendment also provides that upon ceasing to be a Member of Parliament, the said person shall still be entitled to seek re-election in the ensuing by-election.
In my debate yesterday, I applauded the Prime Minister for honouring his promises in the MOU.
That was shown in the several state elections after the Sheraton Move, where very much less voters turned out to vote. Therefore, to save our democracy and the integrity and the sanctity of our Parliament, it is vital that this Anti-Hopping law must be passed to restore public confidence in our parliamentary democracy.
I also told the Parliament that given that there is still about a year to the expiry of the present Parliamentary term, there is no rush for an election and there is some time for the Prime Minister to institute more reforms to our government’s system which has been destroyed and eroded by the Barisan Nasional over the past decades. Therefore, both the present Government and the Opposition should take this opportunity to work together to put in place more institutional reforms in our system.
Lastly, I urged Wan Junaidi, the Minister of Law, who was instrumental in pushing the agenda for the tabling of this Anti-Hopping law, to do likewise back in Sarawak so that the State Government will follow suit to pass similar Anti-Hopping law, afterall, he is also from the same GPS Sarawak State Government’s party, the PBB.
In Sarawak, with GPS having a huge majority in DUN, party hopping may not result in any change of government, but party-hopping amongst the GPS component parties, eg. from SUPP to PBB, is also not good parliamentary practice and culture.
Press statement dated 28th July 2022
Chong Chieng Jen
MP for Stampin