16 November 2023
Press statement by MCA Information Chief Chan Quin Er
MCA's Proposal of Recall Act Addresses Current Loopholes in Anti-Party Hopping Law and Deters Support Switching
Online opinion pieces indicate that Malaysians are not puzzled that the Anti-Party Hopping law has failed to rein in federal opposition lawmakers from switching support to Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim in return for constituency funding without the need to vacate their seats.
In just three weeks, four Bersatu MPs ie Kuala Kangsar MP Dato’ Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (12 Oct), Labuan MP Suhaili Abdul Rahman (30 Oct), Gua Musang MP Azizi Abu Naim (7 Nov) and Jeli MP Zahari Kechik (8 Nov) have switched sides declaring support for PMX. Not renouncing their party membership, they remain as Bersatu party members.
This neither-here-nor-there status where they are opposition MPs yet not part of the ruling government reveals that the amendments to the Federal Constitution to reduce party hopping are watered down. Lacking sincerity, opportunities are rife for elected representatives to switch allegiances without facing any penalties outlined in the amendments.
The Anti-Party Hopping law contains two significant setbacks. Firstly, it fails to address the switching of loyalties when a political party leaves or joins a coalition. It is incapable of preventing a second Sheraton Move, where the defection of a political party to join another coalition leads to the collapse of the ruling federal government - a scenario the law was specifically designed to stop in the first place. (Let’s not forget that Anwar Ibrahim had attempted likewise from the BN bloc in the infamous failed 916 move in 2008).
Secondly, and more relatable to recent chain of events, if an MP chooses not to resign from his political party, there is no requirement for him to relinquish his seat in Parliament. The lack of trust or his disruptive behaviour would coerce his party into expelling him. He is thus free to join another political party without triggering the Anti-Party Hopping provisions.
MCA believes that our party’s proposed House of Representatives Recall Bill provides a pragmatic solution to pre-empt would-be political frogs. In contrast to the Anti-Party Hopping law, the provisions under the Recall Bill advocated by MCA since 2021 entrusts the decision-making power to voters to determine the fate of defecting MPs or ADUNs.
Our party recommends that if the number of voters who desire the revocation of an elected representative exceeds the stipulated threshold for a successful petition, the seat would automatically fall vacant. This paves the way for a by-election. This mechanism ensures that the decision-making power remains in the hands of the electorate, providing a more democratic and responsive solution. MPs and ADUNs are thus held accountable to their voters and would think twice before considering a political leap.