KOTA KINABALU, July 28 — After Parliament passed a historic anti-party hopping Bill earlier today, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has urged the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-led government to also pass a similar law at the state level.
Party president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said that the state should convene for a special sitting to pass new amendments similarly for elected state assemblymen within 60 days.
“This needs to be done within the next two months, and our PBS seven representatives are ready to lead in the tabling of the anti-hopping enactment at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly sitting,” said Ongkili.
“A special sitting must be called to pass this law at the state levels in the next 60 days, and to us in PBS, after 37 years, this is truly a dream come true and a recognition of the party’s struggle to ensure political stability not just in the state, but the country.”
Ongkili said PBS had been consistent in speaking for an anti-hopping law, and was always opposed such behaviour, describing the frog-leaping tradition as “sinful” and unprincipled politics.
“To us, it is evil, unfair, devoid of good ethics and manners.
“PBS tried to put a stop to party hopping by passing a law in the state legislature in 1988 to prevent assemblymen from defecting but it was declared null and void by the High Court. We were lonely in this struggle, but now all our hard work has paid off,” said Ongkili.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs said that Sabah’s political landscape was often inundated by party hopping.
“The first known ‘frog’ was the late Datuk Payar Juman, who won the Kiulu seat on an Upko ticket during the state’s first direct election in 1967.
“Although his defection to Usno brought the downfall of Upko, but personally, he gained the opportunity to be appointed as a minister by the then chief minister the late Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun,” he said.
He also pointed the finger at current Upko president Datuk Madius Tangau for repeating history when he abandoned Barisan Nasional to form a government with Parti Warisan in 2018, despite signing a memorandum with PBS and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah at the Presidential Council that same year.
“That is a classic example of political betrayal of comrades in pursuit of political posts and personal benefits,” said Ongkili.
Moving forward, Ongkili believes that with the passing of the Bill, which is expected to be gazetted in September this year, political stability will be restored and create more politicians with principles and integrity.