Time to stop ‘vicious cycle’ of party hopping, says Chandra

It is time for Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) and Anwar Ibrahim to support an anti-hopping law, says Chandra Muzaffar.

PETALING JAYA: Prominent intellectual Chandra Muzaffar has called for a law to put an end to the “vicious cycle” of elected representatives switching party allegiances.

He said instances of power grab and “backdoor government” have been happening since 1961 when Umno took over the Terengganu state government.

He said PAS had won the state elections in 1959 but there were attempts to buy over state assembly members “and all sorts of manoeuvres took place” resulting in three of them crossing over.

Chandra also spoke about the Sabah power grab in 1994 when Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won 25 seats for a narrow 2-seat majority over Barisan Nasional. PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan was sworn in as chief minister, but his government collapsed after a month when some PBS assemblymen ditched the party.

“This is another example of a backdoor government getting rid of a democratically-elected government,” Chandra said.

He said there were attempts to oust the ruling party in the federal government on Sept 16, 2008, while in 2009, the democratically elected government was ousted in Perak.

Chandra Muzaffar

Chandra, who is president of the International Movement for a Just World, said there had been too many defections and most leaders had “played this game well”, although they now spoke about moral positions and the ill effects of backdoor governments.

Malaysia needed anti-hopping legislation to stop an elected representative from jumping ship from the government to the opposition, or vice versa. “We need to stop betraying voters,” he said.

The law should require elected representatives to resign from their seat and make way for a by-election before they joined another party. “That must be the principle. You must return the mandate to the people.”

He said it was time Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim supported such a bill as “the country needs this law more than ever”.

Chandra’s remarks come at a time of renewed politicking between factions in PPBM, and the rivalry between PPBM and Umno at state level, and a proposed motion in the Dewan Rakyat against the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin.

He decried the constant sniping by politicians at state and federal levels which he described as politics unnecessarily “coming back with a vengeance” at a time when citizens wanted leaders to focus on the Covid-19 health crisis.

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