16 Nov 2023
Press statement by MCA Youth Secretary General Saw Yee Fung
Constituency allocation without need to vacate seat repudiates Unity Government’s vow on institutional reforms
The Unity Government is urged to provide equal funding for constituency development to all Members of Parliament irrespective of party affiliation, lest interested parties and Pakatan Harapan (PH) exploit the Anti-Party Hopping law to attract opponents, and thereby reduce the Pakatan Harapan GE15 Action Plan (manifesto) into a NATO mouthpiece – no action, talk only.
To secure allocations for their respective constituencies, four Bersatu MPs over the last two months, have opted to back Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim without the need to quit their party or vacate their seats. Such a move is a rebuff against our nation’s democratic system, our government’s pledge for institutional reform, Anti-Party Hopping law and Pakatan’s manifesto for the 2022 general elections.
Originally enacted to prevent party leaders from abusing their power to pressure or entice MPs to defect from their party, the provision in the Anti-Party Hopping law that “an MP who was expelled by his political party shall not lose his membership in the Dewan Rakyat” opens a loophole for the 4 Bersatu MPs despite their betrayal.
The Anti-Party Hopping law was passed unanimously by MPs from both the ruling and opposition coalitions in Parliament in 2022. These included lawmakers from the Pakatan Harapan coalition. However, irony prevails as the afore-mentioned provision is now being unethically utilised by the government. The amendments to the Federal Constitution which had intended to halt the culture of political frog-hopping, has paradoxically descended into a lop-sided negotiation tool for the current government to woo opposition parties.
Did the Unity Government consent to this episode as it is the beneficiary, or, did it intentionally exploit the loophole to enable the support switch?
The PH manifesto clearly declares that “Harapan will provide equal Constituency Development Funds (CDF) for Members of Parliament regardless of party because they represent the interests of voters in their constituencies.” Today, we instead observe that the Prime Minister has informed opposition parties which want allocations for their constituencies will first need to apply to Deputy Prime Minister Dato' Sri Haji Fadillah Yusof. Following this, the four Bersatu MPs switched their support to PMX with the aim of obtaining constituency funding. The Pakatan GE15 Action Plan has once again been reduced into a mere mouthpiece.
The Unity Government should also table a Political Funding Act to prevent interested parties from using money politics to tempt elected representatives.
When PH was in the opposition, it churned out lofty ideals for the rakyat. These include a purported refusal to deploy constituency allocations as a strategy to induce or threaten MPs. However, upon seizing Putrajaya, PH practises otherwise.
PH has held federal office twice. Nevertheless, our nation’s progress and reforms do not rest on the slogans of the opposition party, but more on the political will and determination of the ruling party.
Allowing such political shenanigans whilst in power today, repeatedly violating its campaign promises, PH needs to wake up that any political coalition that assumes office in future may also deploy similar methods and tactics, whereby PH must be prepared to reap the consequences.