SHAH ALAM – When the Anti-Hopping Act is expected to be debated in the Dewan Rakyat on July 27 and might be enacted before the 15th General Election (GE15), there are questions that arises as to whether its implementation would have an impact on at least 40 MPs who had jumped parties.
Not to forget, what about the fate of four MPs and an assemblyman with an Independent status at the moment.
This was following the Independent representatives’ actions leaving their respective parties after GE14, after the change of the government at the federal and state levels.
Among the four MPs who were still an Independent were Lubok Antu MP Tambat@ Jugah Anak Muyang and Kuala Langat MP Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar (former PKR leader), Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat (previously Parti Sarawak Bersatu member) and Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (former Pas leader).
At the state legislative level, Sinar Premium found that Titi Serong assemblyman from Perak Hasnul Zulkarnain Abdul Munaim was an Independent although he once left Amanah before being sacked by Bersatu during the downfall of the Perak Perikatan Nasional (PN) government in December 2020.
In order to unravel the essence of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill on the definition of anti-party hopping through its draft proposal, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar explained that the government still maintained the three main things which described that an MP had jumped party.
Firstly, he said an MP was considered to have jumped when the individual won in an election and then announces that they were quitting their political party to be an Independent or joining another party.
Secondly, Wan Junaidi said an MP who won a parliamentary seat but was sacked by their party, was also considered as hopping.
In fact, the party that sacked the MP would face the risk of losing its seat and an election would have to be held again.
Thirdly, he said when an MP was appointed as the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara Speaker and their membership in the party still maintained, they were not considered to have jumped party.
However, Wan Junaidi also emphasised that the bill that will be tabled has three exceptions, namely when a political party dissolves or there was a convergence between parties, thus the MPs in the party was not considered to have jumped party.
Commenting on the fate of the people’s representatives including their independent status, Wan Junaidi explained that the drafting of the bill, if approved by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara and later approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, would not affect their current position.
This, he said was because the objective of enacting a law, could not have an impact on matters or past actions of the people’s representatives, instead it should focus solely on future implications.
The same explanation also applied to the remaining 36 MPs who were involved in party hopping to join other parties after GE14.
“If the bill is successfully enacted, the status of the Independent MPs and those who had jumped parties could be likened to “purity” without being burdened by the consequences of leaving their previous party.
“It must be remembered that the enactment of a law could not have a retroactive effect, and instead could only be applied to the future effects only.
“However, once the Anti-Party Hopping Bill is enacted, they could not jump by joining any other party. This is because the act would fulfil one of the description of party hopping as stated in the draft proposal.
Wan Junaidi’s opinion was also agreed by constitutional expert from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Fathi Yusof.