BN MP pokes fun at anti-hopping law

Ismail Mohamed Said.

KUALA LUMPUR: A Barisan Nasional (BN) MP today poked fun at the prospect of an anti-hopping law, saying he supports efforts by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad “to lure more MPs and state assemblymen from Umno to strengthen PPBM”.

“I believe the youth and sports minister is having a lot of fun now. More so, such effort is to ensure that what happened yesterday does not happen again, that the government will get its two-thirds majority to amend the Federal Constitution,” Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) said in the Dewan Rakyat.

“In this, I feel that there should not be an anti-hopping law. Who knows, Kuala Krau may be interested to join.”

Several MPs from Pakatan Harapan (PH) then asked when he would submit his application to join PPBM.

Ismail, who is the former deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker, joked that he had yet to receive an application form.

“If I get the form, I can then consider,” he said. “If there is a form, please send it to me.”

Ismail had earlier asked Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin whether he felt guilty when leaving PAS to join Amanah.

This came after Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) raised issues of integrity and morals concerning those who hop parties.

Hanipa (PH-Sepang) said the issue of party-hopping arose from a situation where a political party had violated the people’s trust.

He said this was why he and many other former PAS leaders left the Islamist party.

“There are political parties which do not recognise the people’s votes. By right, we must respect the wishes of the people,” he added.

To Ramkarpal’s initial question on whether the ruling pact intends to enact an anti-hopping law, Hanipa said no, adding that Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution allows freedom of association.

If the government decides to formulate such a legislation, he said, it might be challenged in court and deemed unconstitutional.

But Ramkarpal said while he understands the provision for freedom of association, there must be restrictions.

“I believe the problem can be rectified with proportionate laws, and will not be unconstitutional,” he said.

“PH needs to look at this from a moral perspective. A new law needs to be enacted to overcome the problem of party-hopping.”

Hanipa said he understood Ramkarpal’s frustrations but reminded him that such a matter involves government policy which cannot be decided on by an individual minister.

“It will need to be brought before the Cabinet. If you feel that a law needs to be enacted, there is nothing stopping you from writing a letter,” he said.