The Chief Minister is fully aware that an anti-party hopping law is in contravention of the Federal Constitution and a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, says Gerakan.
Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau head Baljit Singh accused Lim of taking Penangites for a ride with his wayang kulit.
“As usual, Lim just wants to hoodwink the people and fish for votes with his routine politicking,” said Baljit.
He said Lim was duping Penangites into thinking that he was against party hopping even though he was fully aware that such state enactment would contravene the Federal Constitution and the 1992 Supreme Court ruling.
Concurring with DAP supremo Karpal Singh’s statement last week, Baljit pointed out that any anti-hop legislation would be effective only when constitutional barriers of Articles 10(1)(C) and 48(6) were removed.
“Karpal was right that the constitutional barriers must be repealed before anti-party hopping laws could be legislated. Hence, if they are sincere and honest, Lim and Pakatan leaders should table a proposal in Parliament first to amend the constitution.
“But Lim is not listening to Karpal, his own chairman and a senior lawyer. If he won’t listen to a constitutional law expert in the country, who else will Lim listen?” asked Baljit.
Supreme Court ruling
Article 10(1)(C) grants the citizenry rights to freedom of association.
Article 48(6) and sub-section 6 (5) Schedule Eight respectively stipulate that an MP or state assemblyman who resigned be disqualified from contesting as a member of the House of Representatives for a period of five years effective from the date of resignation.
In the case of “Kelantan Legislature vs Nordin Salleh”, the then Supreme Court ruled on April 3, 1992 that the PAS-helmed state government’s enactment outlawing party hopping was unconstitutional.
The court ruled that it violated Article 10 as it affected one’s right to freedom to association.
“Lim should be honest and sincere, and stop politicking if he really wants to protect public interests. He should stop his wayang kulit,” said Baljit.
Lim announced this week that his state government was planning to legislate against party hopping to prevent “frogs and tadpoles” from breeding in Penang.
A senior lawyer, CV Prabhakaran, has said that a Penang anti-hopping legislation would be ultra vires the Federal Constitution because it restricted personal freedom.
“The representatives were elected by the people. What is the chief minister trying to do?” he asked.