Q: Does the anti-hopping bill affect state legislatures?
We will amend the eighth schedule of the constitution. The eighth schedule amendment relates to members of the state legislature.
The amendment is to give autonomy to the state, to choose to apply the law or not to extend the law to the state.
So whether or not the state wants to accept the law is up to them.
Q: Will Sarawak enforce the anti-hopping law?
For Sarawak, if the anti-hopping law is passed, the law cannot be enforced until it receives royal assent by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
This was suggested by our Premier of Sarawak during an engagement session on the bill. He suggested law enforcement in Sarawak. The Agong must discuss with our governor, but it must be done on the advice of the prime minister. If agreed, only then can the law be extended to Sarawak.
It is important so that no one disputes it. I agree with the Prime Minister on the question of the autonomy of the state to decide its own laws. It is not up to the federal (government) to decide for them.
Q: So what is Sarawak’s decision?
Amending the Eighth Schedule would give the state the leeway to decide whether or not to accept the law.
There are a few states that already have their own anti-hopping laws. For example, Sarawak, Kelantan, Penang and Sabah. However, the law is ineffective because article 10, paragraph 1, of the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of association.
This caused problems with the justice system in Kelantan, which concerned the case of Nordin Salleh.
With the Eighth Schedule Amendment, Sarawak (and other states) will be allowed to decide whether the state wants to accept and apply this law or otherwise.
Q: What happens if a state refuses to accept the anti-hopping law?
If a state refuses to accept the law, that means an MP can switch parties, and the result would be like what happened in Perak two years ago.
Q: The bill states, among other things, that those expelled from their party will lose their seats. But at the same time, Section 18(c) of the Societies Act stipulates that party decisions cannot be challenged in court. Will it raise questions of fairness to an elected official simply because he is removed from office?
This anti-hopping act is linked to the status of a deputy, when he is dismissed from the party.
This means that those fired from their parties will also lose their seats, even if the dismissals were unjustified, unjust or carried out in controversial circumstances.
For example, the president dismisses a deputy, not because of disciplinary problems but because of certain problems.
This was brought up recently by Muhyiddin Yassin in the Dewan Rakyat.
But for the moment, we have not decided whether or not to include the question of dismissal in the amendment. So Section 18(c) of the Companies Act will continue as usual since we have not decided whether or not to include the matter in the amendment.
The problem with this law is the general right given to a party to expel its members.
Q: What happens if the president of a party forces the party to fire an MP not because of misconduct, but because the president is a problem?
In fact, this question would not arise if the party did not fire its members in the first place.
If the president wants to dismiss, he can dismiss all his deputies. Fire everyone and no one will want to work with him. But only an idiot would do that.
The drafting of this anti-hopping law is very complex. The real concern of many MPs is that they will be disqualified as MPs even if they are wrongfully sacked by their parties.
For example, the ABC Party dismisses its deputy, so the status of the deputy will automatically be canceled because the Federal Constitution says so.
Q: Do you think the law can be passed before July this year?
I have been working (in drafting the law) for eight months. In fact, I was quite frustrated when the project was not accepted by the deputies.
For example, recall the laws in England. Even in Singapore, the issue of dismissal has already been included in the anti-hopping law from the start.
So that means the law in our country is still lagging behind. That’s all.
I don’t have anything personal because I’m just fulfilling my responsibility to deal with legal matters as a member of Parliament. But if that’s what Malaysia wants, to leave our law as it is, I have no problem with that.