The Anti-Hopping Bill 2022 that was tabled in Parliament today is a significant step towards curbing the rampant and despicable act of “political frogs” that have been plaguing our country especially since the infamous Sheraton Move.
This was a result from the MoU that was signed between the Prime Minister and Pakatan Harapan MPs which one of our demands is for an “anti-hopping law” to be tabled to restore the people’s faith in the democracy and electoral process.
The main consideration for this Bill is to ensure a move such as the Sheraton Move which betrays the mandate of the people does not happen again. However the technicalities of hopping is complex with multiple scenarios possible even in the act of hopping.
One of the scenarios that is often mention is that it does not cover MPs that have been sacked by the party. This is important to ensure any political party is not too powerful and use this law to control their MPs to vote even if it is against the interest of the people, if not they will be sacked and lose their MP seat.
This also provides room for “conscious voting” by the MPs especially if the party their represent goes against their conscious or interest of people they represent. So an MP in such situation does not lose his seat if he/she goes against a party and get sack or even they speak out especially if a party gets involve in grand corruption such as 1MDB.
On top of that, the exemption on MPs from deregistered parties that is not covered under the law is to ensure there is not too much power given to the Registrar of Societies(ROS) under the Home Ministry. If not, if the government of the day that intends to prosecute their political rivals, they can through the ROS deregister a political party and all of their MPs will lose their seat. This is against spirit of democracy and justice.
So as mentioned, the intention of this Bill is to prevent a move such as Sheraton move from happening. If we had this law then, the group of MPs lead by Azmin Ali could not have betrayed their own party and jumped then causing the PH government to collapse.
So this Bill while may not be able to cover all scenarios, it is not a perfect bill it is a significant step for us to restore people’s confidence in the democratic system.
Once this is tabled, we can review and strengthen the Act again but an important step must first be taken now to ensure the people’s mandate will not be betrayed again.
Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching
DAPSY National Chief