TAMPARULI, Aug 26 — Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan opined that there is merit in bringing about a review of the anti-hopping law to stop politicians from changing parties after being elected to parliament or state assemblies.
He said freedom of association was controlled by law, and forcing an elected representative to resign when he or she hops party would allow for a by-election to be called.
“Of course, this allows freedom of choice and it actually allows the people to express their views in line with the principle of democracy...that doesn’t hinder the freedom of association.
“But so far nobody has taken this up (for a review) so we cannot argue the point. That’s my opinion. It (anti-hopping law) is not blocking freedom of association,”
he told reporters when met at the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Aidilfitri open house at Dewan Tun Hamdan, here, today.
Pairin (picture), who is PBS president, was asked to comment on a recent proposal by Penang DAP to enact an anti-hopping law.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was quoted as saying recently that the state was looking at enacting an anti-hopping law in November, ahead of the 13th general election that must be called by next April.
Pairin, a former Sabah chief minister, said the anti-hopping law was meant to wake up Malaysians, particularly people’s representatives as to their proper role and responsibilities.
“You must honour your promise...the social contract between the voters and the candidate (not to hop),” he said, adding that “we will see what the reactions will be from the legal fraternity on the proposal by Penang DAP to enact an anti-hopping law.”
The then-PBS government in Sabah had enacted such a law in the 1980s but it was later declared ultra vires to the Federal Constitution as it restrained one’s freedom of association.