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Karpals get support for anti-hopping bill

 | September 23, 2012

The DAP national chairman will table a private member's bill to stop party-hopping and he has got an unlikely ally in an independent MP.

GEORGE TOWN: DAP national chairman Karpal Singh will table a private members’ bill to stop party hopping in Parliament next week and he has got an unlikely ally in independent MP Tan Tee Beng.

Tan, the Nibong Tebal MP, has declared his support for Karpal’s initiatives to amend Articles 10 and 48 of the Federal Constitution to pave way for the anti-hopping legislation to stop party-hopping.

Tan said he would back Karpal because he does not believe in political coup d’etat to form governments by defections.

“I am against turning around the government and country through this bad tactic. It’s an unethical practice and a dangerous trend.

“The government should only be formed through legitimate elections,” he told FMT.

Karpal said that he would table a private member’s bill during the budget sitting of the final parliamentary session of the year that would start next week to amend both constitutional provisions.

Both provisions are considered as stumbling blocks against legislating anti-hopping law to prevent elected representatives from defecting from one party to another.

Tan won Nibong Tebal seat under PKR ticket in 2008 general election but left the party in March 2010 to become an independent MP.

Tan said he was always against part-hopping and he insisted that he only left PKR due to political differences with party supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

He said he had never declared himself as a BN-friendly independent unlike other defecting MPs.

“It’s my critics and media who claimed that I’m BN-friendly. I have never said it,” he said.

Fall-out with Anwar

He pointed out that his fall-out with Anwar was over the unwarranted “916 episode” where the PKR supremo leader wanted to capture Putrajaya via defections of 30 Barisan Nasional MPs, mostly from Sabah and Sarawak.

“I never agreed with Anwar on Sept 16 date. I told him that I would rather prefer to be opposition MP than take over the government by default,” said Tan.

He said this can be clarified with PKR MPs – Ampang’s Zuraida Kamaruddin, Balik Pulau’s Yusmadi Yusoff, Indera Makhota’s Azan Ismail, Kelana Jaya’s Loh Gwo Burne and Telok Kemang’s Kamarul Bahrin Abas – as they were witnesses over his argument with Anwar in the opposition leader’s Segambut home.

In the unlikely event that Karpal’s private bill to amend Articles 10 and 48 was passed, it would facilitate the Penang Pakatan Rakyat government’s plan to enact its own anti-hopping law.

“Without the constitutional amendments, any anti-hopping law would be void,” said Karpal, the two-term Bukit Gelugor MP.

Article 10(1)(C) guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of association. Article 48(6) and sub-section 6 (5) Schedule Eight respectively stipulate that a 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.
Despite the constitutional barriers, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan has announced that the State Legislative Assembly would enact an anti-hopping law in the next session.


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