Hajiji wins praise for new Anti-Hopping Bill

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KOTA KINABALU:  The revival of an anti-party hopping law has been welcomed by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) which believed the voters of Sabah would support the move. 

FCAS president Tan Sri TC Goh (pictured) recalled that the move had been presaged in March this year by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor who said the Cabinet was preparing the Bill.

Hajiji tabled the Anti-Party Hopping Law Bill at the State Legislative Assembly sitting here today (Thursday).

“Well done . . . it is a bold move,” said Goh, adding that at the Federal level, Article 49A of the Federal Constitution – the Anti-Party Hopping Law – had been in effect prior to the 15th General Election (GE15).

“Political stability is the key to development and progress,” he said matter-of-factly. 

The GRS government, Goh added, wanted to bring about stability and harmony in the state and would never let it descend into the kind of political chaos which happened recently.

He referred to the failed coup to topple the GRS state government.

Goh, who is also the president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong), said he was optimistic the people of Sabah would support this law to prevent crossovers of elected representatives they have voted for.

“There is now greater confidence on the part of the people,” he said, expressing optimism that barring any further attempt by power-crazy groups or individuals to stage yet another coup, Sabah was moving on the right track.

The Anti-Party Hopping Law Bill was later passed by the State Assembly before it adjourned sine-die.

The move against defections of elected representatives was passed into law in 1988 when Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) was in power. Sabah was the first state to introduce such a law. 

But in 1992 the law was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court which ruled it undermined Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. 

The Federal Court declared such switching of a political party was a freedom of association.

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