PARLIAMENT | A snap general election that is compliant with Covid-19 standard operating procedures will cost RM1.2 billion to hold.
In comparison, the 14th general election in 2018 cost about RM500 million.
The new estimate was given by de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan in the Dewan Rakyat today, while wrapping up the elections portion of the supplementary budget bill debate.
The bill is currently at the committee stage.
Earlier in February, before the second wave of Covid-19 infections, the EC had estimated that a snap general election would cost up to RM800 million.
The additional expense then was to facilitate improvements such as increasing polling centres and special voting streams for those with special needs.
Previously, it was reported that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was looking to seek a mandate of his own as soon as the country is stable enough.
The Perikatan Nasional government currently only has a majority of two seats in Parliament, a position that leaves Putrajaya vulnerable to bills being defeated, or collapse due to defection.
Meanwhile, Takiyuddin (above) said the government would review a constitutional provision that might allow for an anti-hopping law.
This after Hassan Karim (Harapan-Pasir Gudang) pointed out that Clause 2(c) in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution allowed Parliament to formulate laws that restrict freedom of association in the interest of security, public order, or morality.
This, he said, would overcome the Nordin Salleh court case which had become a legal precedent on party hopping.
"There was no anti-hopping law then. If there was an act, the courts, even the Federal Court, would have to abide by the law approved by Parliament," Hassan said.
The government is of the view that a constitutional amendment would be needed to enact an anti-party hopping law, which would require a two-thirds majority.
Takiyuddin said he agreed with the points raised by the PKR lawmaker, but said the government was still bound by the Nordin Salleh court ruling for now.
Nordin was a Kelantan state assemblyperson who defected from PAS to BN in 1992.
The Federal Court ruled that PAS' own anti-party hopping law violated Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed freedom of association.