DAP calls for a law before next general election to prevent defections and party-hopping of elected representatives by requiring an MP or State Assembly representative to vacate his seat and cause a by-election to be held on resignation or expulsion from the party on whose ticket he was originally elected
Media Conference Statement (3)
- when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in Jelutong parliamentary constituency
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): The Election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has condemned candidates who cross over from one party to another after winning the election as “people with low morals” and said that party-hopping should not be happening in this age.
Speaking at a briefing for a pre-general
election conference organised by Bernama for its regional managers, bureau
chiefs and senior officers on Sunday, Rashid said elected representatives
should respect the decision of the people who elected them because of the
party they represented.
I am rather skeptical of Rashid’s new-found but belated moral indignation against defections and party-hopping of MPs and State Assembly members, for this is not a new phenomenon but had been a chronic disease of electoral politics in Malaysia for over three decades.
In Sabah, party-hopping had reached such a fine art that it had enriched the political lexicon with the term “political frogs”.
The Election Commission could not be unaware of the curse of the culture of political defections and party-hopping in Malaysian electoral history, or is the Election Commission only concerned about party-hopping affecting Barisan Nasional elected representatives but utterly unmoved and unconcerned about party-hopping by Opposition MPs and SAs which could benefit the ruling Barisan Nasional?
Rashid must demonstrate his bona fide, impartiality and integrity by taking action to wipe out the political immorality of elected representatives “hopping” parties and betraying the mandate of the voters, wherever they emanate from and whatever destination they ended up in.
The solution to curb such immoral and unethical politicking is quite simple – and I had suggested it in Parliament 25 years ago when in March 1978, I sought to move a private member’s bill to prohibit defection of elected representatives by requiring a Member of Parliament to vacate his seat within 30 days and cause a by-election to be held on his resignation or expulsion from the party on whose ticket he was originally elected.
I had told Parliament 25 years ago that the defection of MPs or State Assembly members from parties on whose ticket they got elected was most undesirable and unethical, because they were elected primarily because of the Party they represented. Such practices resulted in elected politicians being bought and sold as if they were commodities in the market place.
I had suggested in the Members of Parliament (Prevention of Defection) Act, 1978 which I proposed in my private member’s bill that when an elected MP resigns or is expelled for the party on whose ticket he was originally elected, then he should resign his seat and cause a by-election to be held. If he can get a new mandate from the voters in the by-election, he can then return to Parliament.
Such a law would uphold political integrity and deter political corruption. Is Rashid and the Election Commission prepared to ask Cabinet to introduce legislation in Parliament which reconvenes next Tuesday to ensure that a law is put in place by before the next general election to prevent defections and party-hopping of elected representatives by requiring an MP or State Assembly representative to vacate his seat and cause a by-election to be held on resignation or expulsion from the party on whose ticket he was originally elected?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman