18 December 2011

Lets stop 'frogs' party-hopping...

The DAP today called on the Najib administration to amend the Federal Constitution to ban party hopping by elected representatives. Its chairman Karpal Singh said Barisan Nasional government should table an emergency parliamentary bill soon to amend the constitution.

“It should be done before the next general election,” Karpal told newsmen during his weekly Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency visit here today.

He said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak can count on the Pakatan Rakyat support for the amendment. He said Najib should not be worried about not securing a two-thirds majority needed to make a constitutional amendment.

He said the Pakatan MPs would surely back Najib’s administration on the amendment, which would eventually flush out selfish politicians. The amendment will have to done on Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which allows citizens freedom of association.

Many elected representatives are pointing to the article to justify their defections over the years. Karpal, a lawyer by profession, indicated that only a constitutional amendment can once and for all put an end to party hopping by elected representatives. The amendment would pave way for the parliament and state governments to legislate anti-hopping laws.

Karpal was referring to a Gerakan suggestion to ban party hopping made during a public hearing by the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms here yesterday. The hearing was chaired by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili.

Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau head Baljit Singh had told the committee that it would reduce politicking and avoid political uncertainties. Gerakan proposal was to have elected seats automatically vacant when the representative quits his or her party.

It is to ensure that the right to choose a government remains in the hands of the voters.

A by-election shall be held to uphold the constituents to elect their legitimate representative.

“This would reduce politicking where the government can fully focus on running the country to avoid uncertainties,” Baljit told the committee.

Gerakan’s other proposals were on use of indelible ink during voting, automatic registration for voters above 21 years of age and deletion for deaths

Karpal said Malaysia should emulate other Commonwealth countries like India and Singapore, which already legislated anti-hopping laws to curb politicians switching sides .



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