KUALA LUMPUR (April 7, 2009) : The government has taken a stand not to introduce an Anti-Party Hopping Law because it will only restrict people’s freedom, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said today.
Speaking to reporters in the Parliament lobby, Nazri said introducing the law would restrict the people’s freedom of association.
“Our constitution guarantees that any Malaysian citizen has the freedom of association. If it’s given to ordinary citizens, why not for elected representatives?”said Nazri.
Nazri said an enactment in Kelantan states:
“If any member of the Legislative Assembly who is a member of a political party resigns or is expelled from, or for any reasons whatsoever ceases to be a member of such political party, he shall cease to be a member of the Legislative Assembly and his seat shall become vacant.”
Nordin Salleh, who was from Parti Semangat 46, joined Umno and brought the case to court. The Supreme Court then, however, decided that the enactment was against the right to freedom of association under the Federal Constitution.
Nazri said the constitution allowed Parliament to introduce the Anti-Party Hopping Law but the government found that at this stage, it was not urgent to have such a law.
“The one who ‘curi’ (steal) is (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim; we (Barisan Nasional) don’t do it. This (party hopping) is also not happening often, so we feel there is no need (to introduce the anti-party hopping law),” said Nazri.
He also said that in countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, there were no anti-party hopping laws.
“Only in India is there such a law,” explained Nazri.
Meanwhile, Nazri said there would not be any restrictions on the number of candidates standing for general or by-elections.
He said there was nothing wrong with having multiple candidates in elections.
“If many people want to stand for election, what can we do? This is normal,” he said, adding that it would be undemocratic if the number of candidates for elections is restricted.