Anti-hopping law gazetted but enforcement pending later notice

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — The constitutional amendment to prohibit the political defection of elected representatives was gazetted on Tuesday but will not be enforced until a date to be announced by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The gazette also said the portion of the law affecting assemblymen could be introduced in any state upon the agreement of its Ruler or Governor and the Agong.

According to the gazette posted on the website of Attorney General’s Chambers, the Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Act 2022 that Parliament unanimously approved at the end of July, received royal assent on August 31.

It was also approved in a special sitting of the Dewan Negara on August 9.

Informally named the anti-party hopping law, the amendment was mooted as a bipartisan response to the so-called “Sheraton Move” of 2020, when political defections caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

The collapse led to Perikatan Nasional coming to power unelected, before the coalition was itself forced to yield last year to the Barisan Nasional that was voted out in the 14th general election.

The law was also part of the memorandum of understanding signed between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the PH coalition.

Specifically, it is an amendment of the Federal Constitution, which includes the addition of Article 49A (pertaining to members of parliament) and a change to the Eight Schedule (pertaining to state assemblymen).

The new amendments will cause MPs and state assemblymen to lose their seats if they switch parties, or if they join one after being elected as an independent.

There are three exceptions, however, namely the dissolution or cancellation of the registration of the politician’s party; the expulsion of the politician from his party; or the politician resigning from his party upon becoming Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat or his respective state assembly.