Anti Hopping Law Bersih Sees Silver Lining In Delay Moots Recall Polls
Now that Putrajaya has delayed the passage of a bill to discourage the defection of MPs, electoral reforms pressure group Bersih said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has the opportunity to table a separate bill altogether.
Bersih said party hopping can be addressed by recall elections as practised in the UK and Taiwan.
“If enough voters signed to support a recall petition, it can be done in 21 days. The signature threshold Bersih recommends is 40 percent or half of the turnout rate in the last election.
“By leaving the decision to voters, recall election legislation can overcome the two handicaps in the current proposed anti-hopping law,” said Bersih.
Putrajaya, said Bersih, need not delay the matter by drafting a new bill and instead adopt Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said’s private member’s bill on recall elections.
Yesterday, the cabinet decided to pause a bill that, when in force, would force by-elections if an MP resigns or is expelled from the party which the MP represented at the time of election.
According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the cabinet decided that more time was needed to determine what constitutes “party hopping”, despite multiple rounds of stakeholder engagement being held since December last year.
Meanwhile, Bersih urged Ismail Sabri to allow “vote by conscience” when the bill(s) are eventually presented to the Dewan Rakyat.
This, explained Bersih, will allow MPs to present different views which can be incorporated into the bill(s).
This method, said Bersih, would expose any MPs who are against any form of “anti-hopping” laws, in whatever form.
“We believe that more than two-third majority of MPs would support the passing of any anti-hopping mechanism to restore political stability and sanity,” said Bersih. - Mkini
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