Anti-Hopping constitutional amendments; a step in the right direction
ROSE views the latest constitutional amendment passed by Dewan Rakyat on the 28th July 2022 as a great success in the country’s parliamentary history and democracy.
It was a testament also to the way law-making can be a bi-partisan effort and consultative in nature by the setting up and working of a Parliamentary Select Committee in this case a special one set up by the Dewan itself. Hence we congratulate Minister of Law Dato Sri Wan Junaidi and all the Members of Parliament who had debated (54) and those who gave a resounding vote to the Bill (209). From the debates we observe that each and every one of the MPs who had debated the bill tacitly acknowledged that the voters or citizens have become sick and tired of the politics and are losing confidence in politicians and governance in general and that it was time for this piece of legislation to bring semblance of hope to the people in the voting process or outcome and to parliamentary democracy.
However we also note from the debates and issues brought up by the MPs when debating the bill that there are weaknesses in it which will need other solutions via other reforms or mechanisms such as recall elections, making parliament a fixed term parliament, reforms in political financing and allocating equal/equitable constituency development fund to all MPs and ADUNs whether or not they are in government coalition or not.
Of course we also call on our state government for a similar anti-hopping provisions to enacted at state level here in Sarawak expeditiously after the federal constitutional amendments are gazetted and consented to by our Tuan Yang Di-Pertua Negeri. This will involve amendments to our state constitution with regards to disqualification of state assembly persons.
The Bill which was just passed by the Dewan Rakyat also amended the provisions in the Eighth Schedule of the FC which is a Schedule containing what states must have in their constitution. Essential amendment is the one pertaining to disqualification of state assemblymen. So it's one thing to amend the Federal Constitution ie. Federal law and for TYT to consent to its application to Sarawak. It is another for the state government to move for these provisions to incorporated into our state constitution to streamline the changes so that state assembly persons / ADUNs will also have to give up their seat at DUN if they party hop. ROSE had earlier opined that the existing anti-hopping provision in our state constitution is weak and ineffective and hence should be strengthened. In any event we also note that the Members of Parliament belonging to the ruling state coalition GPS did not raise any objections to the amendments to the Eighth Schedule. We therefore conclude that the state government will in due course without delay amend our constitution accordingly.
press release by Rise of Social Efforts
30th July 2022