Saturday, April 16, 2022

Party Hopping Bill will not end deprival of voter rights, unless Art. 48 of Constitution amended - disqualifying MPs that change parties after election

Malaysians seems to be taken for a ride when the government tabled the anti-party hopping Bill, which turned out to be a short Bill that only deals with Article 10, and there is no amendment relating to what happens when a MP/ADUN changes party after being elected. See the copy of the proposed Bill below..



Article 48 of the Federal Constitution that deals with disqualification of an MP should have been amended at the same time > Added disqualification like '(g) If he or she joins another party or leaves the party and decides to remain an Independent member; or (h) If a member was elected as an independent and joins a part..SHOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF THE BILL -as it deals with 'party hopping'. When the Constitution provides for specific situation when a MP will be disqualified, disqualification for hopping parties after being elected must be in Article 48 of the Federal Constitution - an additional Act that elaborates further is OK, but an Act of Parliament alone dealing with 'party hopping' cannot solve the problem as situations leading to disqualification already in a specific Article in the Federal Constitution - read the Bar Resolution below.

Voter's right is the priority, not the rights of political party - but the worry is that that anti-hopping law(that may come in the future) may be more concerned about the political parties' rights - how to control their party MPs/ADUNs - and maybe even to 'force' MPs/ADUNs to stay in their parties.

All Malaysia needed to do was to amend the Constitution as follows, as was done before in some other countries

11. An example of such provisions that disqualifies MPs that jump parties could be seen in Uganda in Article(83) of their Constitution, where it is stated that ‘…a Member of Parliament may lose his or her seat in any of the following instances—

 - On resignation in writing to the Speaker;

- If he or she subsequently ceases to qualify to be a Member of Parliament;

- If he or she is absent from 15 sittings without permission of the Speaker;

- If he or she is found guilty of violation of the Leadership Code of Conduct;

- If he or she joins another party or leaves the party and decides to remain an Independent member;

- If a member was elected as an independent and joins a party; or

- On appointment as a public officer….’ 

The Malaysian Bar Resolution in 2021 proposed the Malaysian Constitution be amended as follows:-

13. As, it is the Federal Constitution, being Article 48 Disqualification for membership of Parliament, that need to be amended, specifically Art. 48(1) to add on 2 additional situation that results in disqualification. being a new clause (g) and (h)

48 (1) Subject to the provisions of this Article, a person is disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if -

(a) he is and has been found or declared to be of unsound mind; or

(b) he is an undischarged bankrupt; or

(c) he holds an office of profit; or

(d) having been nominated for election to either House of Parliament or to the Legislative Assembly of a State, or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, he has failed to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner so required; or

(e) he has been convicted of an offence by a court of law in the Federation (or, before Malaysia Day, in the territories comprised in the State of Sabah or Sarawak or in Singapore) and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than two thousand ringgit and has not received a free pardon; or

(f) he has voluntarily acquired citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, any country outside the Federation or has made a declaration of allegiance to any country outside the Federation.

(g) If he or she joins another party or leaves the party and decides to remain an Independent member; or

(h) If a member was elected as an independent and joins a party

Then, the much awaited anti-party hopping Bill was recently revealed.and it was most disappointing... there is nothing about party hopping in that Bill at all. THERE IS NO NEEDED Constitutional AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 48 - that will automatically disqualify a Member of Parliament if after being elected leaves the party and/or joins another party. Thereafter, to further elaborate, an Act of Parliament or an amendment of existing Acts is possible.

But, the question is WHY Article 48 was not amended that would have automatically disqualified MPs that switched parties? 
Remember, the focus is VOTER's RIGHTS. The voter voted a MP also maybe because of the party he represented or because he stood as an independent. So, if the elected MP changes parties or joins a party - it should be automatic disqualification, followed by a by-election, where the incumbent MP is allowed to stand again > and then the VOTERS will decide who they want as their MP (peoples' representative). They may chose to elect the same MP that changed parties ... The reason why an MP changes parties thus becomes important. If the party suddenly takes a position that is opposite to what a particular MP (and his/her constituents)'s position > then there may be no CHOICE but to quit the party as after all, a MP is the PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVE ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE - and NOT the Political party representative. [If in elections, we are simply asked to choose a political party, then it will be different - but that is not the case in Malaysia, we chose a HE or SHE as the peoples' representative...full stop.]

Many political parties BENEFITED from MPs leaving other parties and joining their party...BERSATU after GE14 had only 12 or 13 MPs but the number swelled because of party hopping to 32?

32 Bersatu MPs, 14 were lawmakers who defected from Umno and another 11 were from PKR.

Switching parties is a fundamental right of anyone - BUT, with 'party hopping MPs' it is different. For example, we, the supporters of PH(which BERSATU was part of) did not VOTE that UMNO candidate finds that same UMNO person now becoming a 'BERSATU or PH MP' - our party MP. Worse, when a political party 'acquires' opposition MPs sufficient to even change the government..

With the MOU between government and Opposition, an amendment of the Federal Constitution, which requires two third majority, would have been easily achieved if the government and the Opposition parties really wanted to eliminate 'party hopping of MPs after being elected'.

LOOK at the response of the different political parties to this so-called Constitution Amendment to deal with 'party hopping after being elected' >>> Their public response will show you which party is really concerned about VOTER RIGHTS, and which are not.

Read the comprehensive Malaysian Bar Resolution -Anti-Hopping laws for people - NOT for party to 'enslave' or gag further their members who are MPs? Malaysian Bar Resolution

The problem is that many a politician is not persons of principle and value - They really are not the 'peoples' representative' when they, without even the support of the voters who chose them choose to change political parties. If an MP leaves a majority party and joins a small Opposition party, maybe it is a matter of 'principle' - but the trend seems to be that MPs leave their parties to join the parties that are in government. WHY? Was it to get a share of the power of government? Was it monies? WORSE are the political parties that accept these 'party hopping MPs' and later even make them candidates of the party for upcoming elections. 

So, VOTERS make sure next time you VOTE whether the candidate seeking to be elected as a Member of Parliament(MP) is a GOOD person, who will be your peoples' representative - not a person simply loyal to the Party and/or its leadership, who MAY betray the people they represent in favour of their own party, party leader, etc... Looking at one's history is a good way...a person who never stood up for rights will most likely still never stand up for peoples' rights even if elected as a MP.

Hope is that the BILL be amended to include an amendment of Article 48 of the Federal Constitution which specifically tells us when a MP will be disqualified, which will lead to a by-election allowing VOTERS the opportunity to confirm again who exactly they want to be their peoples' representative... This is FIRST, other matters can come later..

RECALL - that is the process where the people of a constituency is given the right to 'kick out' their MP, irrespective whether he changes party or not. This is normally done if 50% or more of the voters submit a petition saying they have lost confidence in their MP > and this will trigger a by-election. Same like what happens when the PM loses the confidence of the majority >>> This is good, but let us do one by one. First, amend Article 48 - that automatically disqualifies a MP who 'HOPS' to another party.

Constitution (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 2022- 
Constitution (Amendment) (No. 3)


i n t i t u l e d

An Act to amend the Federal Constitution.
[ ]
ENACTED by the Parliament of Malaysia as follows:

Short title and commencement

1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 3) Act 2022.

(2) This Act comes into operation on a date to be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by notification in the Gazette.

Amendment of Article 10

2. The Federal Constitution is amended in Article 10—

(a) in Clause (1), by inserting after the words “(3)” the words“, (3 a)”; and 

(b) by inserting after Clause (3) the following Clause:

“(3a) Notwithstanding paragraph (c) of Clause (2) and Clause (3), restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) relating to membership in a political party of members of the House of Representatives and members of the State Legislative Assembly may also be imposed by federal law.”.


This Bill seeks to amend the Federal Constitution.

2. Clause 1 of this Bill provides for the short title of the proposed Act and the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint the date of coming into operation of the proposed Act.

3. Clause 2 of this Bill seeks to amend Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Subclause 2(a) seeks to amend Clause (1) of Article 10 consequential to the introduction of a new Clause (3 a) in subclause 2(b) .

Subclause 2(b) seeks to introduce a new Clause (3 a) into the Federal Constitution to enable restrictions on the right to form associations relating to membership in a political party of members of the House of Representatives and members of the State Legislative Assembly to be imposed by federal law.

This Bill will not involve the Government in extra financial expenditure.


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