22/11/2022 02:53 PM

KUCHING, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today passed the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2022 to bring the state constitution in line with the anti-party hopping law which was incorporated in the Federal Constitution last July.

Tabled by Deputy Minister in Premier of Sarawak's Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Syeed Aman Ghazali, the bill was passed with a more than two-thirds majority when 77 members voted in favour.

“The amendments consist of two parts. Firstly, it relates to the prohibition of change of an elected member’s political party. This is to prevent ‘party hoping’ among elected members.

“The amendments also provide for circumstances where membership of the Legislative Assembly will not be affected, like the dissolution or cancellation of the registration of his political party or expulsion of a member from his political party,” she said.

The amendments include adding a new Article 16B and deleting the existing clauses (6) and (7) of Article 17 of the State Constitution.

On July 28, Malaysia hit a historic political milestone when amendments to the Federal Constitution to prohibit members of the Dewan Rakyat from changing parties were passed with a two-thirds majority support.

When debating the bill, Safiee Ahmad (GPS-Daro) said the amendments were important to prevent party hopping as this unhealthy practice had resulted in Malaysia having three prime ministers in just one term recently.

“This initiative (amendment) is not only to appreciate and respect the people’s mandate through the democratic system but also to preserve political integrity in the state administration.

“I am confident that the enforcement of this law can stop elected representatives from hopping to switch parties like a frog to fulfil their personal agenda without thinking of its effects on the people,” he said.