MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Recall elections seen as best way to plug loopholes in anti-hopping law


A by-election can be triggered if 40% of the voters in a constituency sign a recall petition.

PETALING JAYA: A political scientist has backed an idea proposed by former law minister Azalina Othman Said to address weaknesses in the anti-hopping law.

Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University said Azalina’s proposal for a recall election mechanism would be the best way of plugging loopholes such as one that leaves a party at a disadvantage if it were to sack a member who is an MP.

Under the bill passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, MPs sacked by their parties would retain their seats, which means a party would lose out for taking action against an MP.

Another perceived loophole is that the bill does not penalise MPs whose party leaves a coalition en bloc, like in the case of Bersatu MPs after the party quit Pakatan Harapan or Gabungan Parti Sarawak MPs who left Barisan Nasional.

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Under Azalina’s proposal, a by-election could be triggered if 40% of the voters in a constituency signed a recall petition, if an MP were to be sacked by his or her party or if a party were to quit a coalition.

“The power to punish party-hoppers would then be with the voters,” Wong told FMT.

Danesh Prakash Chacko of the activist group Tindak Malaysia also gave his support to the proposal.

He suggested that law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar look into Azalina’s private member’s bill on the recall mechanism and “either implement it or modify it to make it better”.

Wong also spoke of the possibility of political parties tightening their constitutions so that rebel MPs automatically would lose their membership but still retain their Parliament seats.

A by-election should then be held, he said.

This is something DAP plans to do by amending its constitution so that elected representatives who do not toe the party line on fundamental issues will automatically lose their membership.

But he said the danger of this “roundabout remedy” is that the party constitution might become so constraining that MPs might lose their autonomy and become yes men. - FMT

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