Johor state assembly rejects Opposition’s proposal for joint committee on anti-party hopping law

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

ISKANDAR PUTERI, Sept 22 — The Johor Opposition’s proposal for the establishment of a state-level committee to discuss the anti-party hopping enactment was rejected by a majority in the state legislative assembly today.

Johor State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi said that a total of 37 assemblymen did not agree to the proposal, while 13 others agreed that a vote should be held.

“The discussion was not agreed upon,” he said at the Johor state assembly in Bangunan Sultan Ismail, Kota Iskandar here today.

The establishment of a special select committee to carry out a study on the anti-party hopping enactment was earlier proposed by DAP’s Marina Ibrahim (PH-Skudai).

Two other Opposition assemblymen, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance’s (Muda) Amira Aisya Abd Aziz (Muda-Puteri Wangsa) and PKR’s Arthur Chiong Sen Sern (PH-Bukit Batu) came forward to express their support, while two Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen Anuar Abd Manap (Pemanis) and Sharifah Azizah Syed Zain (Mahkota) objected to the proposal.

Amira Aisya said that the intention of the proposed special select committee would be to facilitate the enactment’s implementation in Johor in the future.

“Several states have already started studies related to this enactment so that it is in line (with the federal law) and the establishment of this committee is expected to facilitate its implementation.

“Johor should be the birthplace of leaders who are gracious and sincere in serving the people.

“The proposed committee is established to facilitate the implementation of this enactment in Johor for the future,” said Amira Aisya.

Anuar said he did not deny the importance of implementing the enactment but believes that the proposal to have a special committee to discuss the enactment was a waste of time and money.

“We all know that party hopping is not a new issue, but it has caused damage to the electoral system in our country.

“However, what is clear is that a few assemblymen still do not understand the procedure of the enactment at the state level, and may even make mistakes,” he said.

Anuar explained that the issue that touches on the commencement is on Section 6 under Subsection 1(3) of the Constitutional Amendment Act (No 3) 2022, where the Agong will obtain approval through the meeting of the Council of Rulers and then the date of commencement under Section 6 will be published in the Gazette.

“We are not rejecting this enactment but rather it has already been discussed and agreed at Parliament and will be brought to the Council of Rulers. We feel there is no need to waste time by establishing a special committee at the state assembly for this.

“Any issues can be raised and brought to the state level after it is gazetted,” he said.

On April 16, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz was reported to have said that the Johor government will refine and implement the anti-party hopping enactment in the state.

On July 31, the media reported that the Johor government was urged to amend the State Constitution to ensure that the anti-party hopping Bill can be implemented at the state assembly after the Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat last July.

The constitutional amendment to prohibit the political defection of elected representatives was gazetted on September 6 but will not be enforced until a date to be announced by the 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.

States such as Selangor, Penang and Sabah have confirmed that they will table their respective anti-party hopping Bills by this year.