Party-Hopping About Self Interest, Not The People

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will find a way to ensure party-hopping becomes a thing of the past.

In stating this caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal underscored his intentions to oversee the enactment of a law that will prevent politicians from crossing the floor.

“We have to find a method on how to avoid this (party-hopping) because this burdens the people,” he said on being asked about the issue which was discussed in parliament yesterday.

Shafie who was speaking to reporters after an event in Kinabatangan today, said the people have given a mandate to politicians to be their elected representative but when things go sideways, certain choose this route to ensure their own survival.

“The people want these people to represent them but when things are uncertain, they (elected representatives) are not thinking of the people’s interest but their own.

“Maybe we have to look into this more in detail. There are many views and suggestions (even) in parliament there are voices that only parties are represented, not the individual.

“If they leave, then the mandate is the party’s right, not the individuals’.

“I think there is already a template in Penang and Singapore. And we as the state government will make a reform.

“I will look in detail in future how we can enact a legislation to enable such restrictions (on party- hopping).”

Yesterday, de facto Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had said the introduction of any anti-hopping law would be dependent on how the Penang state government deals with the four assemblymen who switched parties.

He said many lawmakers have suggested the need to have an anti-hopping law in the country but that however contradicts Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution that guarantees Malaysians have the freedom of association.

Takiyuddin added that the decision of the then Supreme Court on a case in Kelantan in 1992 also stood in the way.

Shafie, in driving home his point on the need for an anti-hop law, said party-hopping will trigger negative spin-offs, a case in point being the state’s development.

“For instance, our plans to develop Sabah have been stunted … in the midst of facing Covid-19, there were efforts to cross over.

“But this is not the practice (we want). In the peninsula, the majority (with the Perikatan Nasional pact) is only three … people can be bought over to switch sides but is this what we want?”

  

Shafie meanwhile reiterated that when it came to government-to-government relationships, the state is always willing to work with the federal administration despite not being in the same political boat.

“What’s important is we build the nation, build the cooperation between the federal and state governments.

“Previously, the Sarawak government was not even an ally to the federal government during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s two year reign but we never resorted to efforts to buy over PBB members so that we could topple the state government under them.

“We did not do that because we know the value we are offering as Yang Berhormat, to become administrators of a state.

“We will leave it to the people, we won’t resort to buying people,” Shafie said.