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Monday, July 13, 2020

PN rules out 'unconstitutional' anti-hopping law for now


The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government appeared not in favour of formulating an anti-hopping law to stop political uncertainty as it goes against the fundamental rights to association, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
"At this stage, the government is of the view that the rights to association for every citizen is still guaranteed in the Constitution.
"On the rights to association, it was heard and decided by the Federal Court (before)," de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan (above) told Ramkarpal Singh (Pakatan Harapan-Bukit Gelugor) in a parliamentary reply yesterday.
"However, if the government feels there is a need to formulate an anti-hopping law in future, definitely we will study the matter thoroughly, including comparing it with the best practices of other countries," Takiyuddin said.
A study is needed as this law is against Article 10(1)(C) of the Constitution that allows the freedom of association, which could be restricted when it comes to security, public order and morals, added the PAS Kota Baru MP.
"The government will consult with various quarters, including NGOs and political parties, if it intends to formulate an anti-hopping law," Takiyuddin said.
Ramkarpal (below) had asked if the government intends to amend the Constitution in order to formulate an anti-hopping law so that lawmakers could not defect from their parties, as this could lead to political instability.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration had also rejected the anti-hopping law as "unconstitutional" and said that democracy allows defections to take place.
The country witnessed political uncertainty when it had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic fallout it caused five months after the Sheraton Move coup in late February. 
Last month, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah mooted an anti-hopping law to put a stop to the never-ending debate on the legitimacy of PN.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday saw Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin commanding the House with a razor-thin majority during a motion put up by him to remove the speaker. - Mkini

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