KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secretary general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin has today defended his party's silence during the debate before Parliament voted unanimously to pass the much anticipated Anti-Party Hopping Bill.
In a press conference right after Parliament voted to amend the constitution to prevent MPs from switching parties, the home minister said he had implored his colleagues to refrain from debating to ensure that the law passes without a hitch.
"I read a lot of questions from people online out there, especially about the debates by MPs in the House. The truth is, many of my colleagues wanted to debate, but I asked them to be patient because of what is being said, what it means to us, half of them are using analogies or using names that are not nice to hear.
"But today, believe me, that of all those present, including the Bersatu MPs, we voted. What does this show? It shows we are a group that knows the law, who knows what laws are already enshrined in the constitution," he told reporters.
Hamzah said that Bersatu voting for the Anti-Hopping Bill to pass today proves that the party is committed to upholding the wants and needs of the people.
"Let us think, if my colleagues or myself speak in Dewan Rakyat, what will happen? It will only create chaos and slow down what has been passed today.
"Thus, today my friends and I walk tall because we know that this is for the rakyat," he said.
Also present at the press conference were Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and a few other Bersatu MPs.
When questioned why he himself, or any of its leadership did not speak on behalf of Bersatu during the debate, he contributed it to them being on the front bench of the government.
"I can talk now outside Dewan Rakyat because I cannot speak in there. I am a front bench minister. Datuk Seri Azmin is also on the front bench, a lot of us are on the front bench.
"This posed a problem for us, as there was only one or two of us that isn't on the front bench," he said.
At the same time, he also congratulated the government for the historic passing of the Anti-Hopping Bill.
"On behalf of Bersatu, I’d like to congratulate the government, which today, has managed to pass another law.
"This has become history as the provisions under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution have now been amended so that no one else can be allowed to leave or change parties," he said.
Dewan Rakyat today passed the Anti-Party Hopping Bill today by making amendments to the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022 on Provisions Preventing Members of Parliament from Switching Parties.
The bill required a two-thirds majority vote from MPs in Dewan Rakyat, with a total of 209 agreeing to it, while 11 were not in attendance meaning they hit a two-thirds majority.
MPs voted for the constitutional amendment to ban MPs from jumping parties. No MPs voted against it.