The Anti-Party Hopping Bill required a comprehensive study that was time-consuming, and therefore had not been deliberately delayed, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) deputy secretary-general Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said.
He said various procedures had been implemented to enable the Bill to be tabled at the Sabah state assembly meeting this time around.
“What actually is being done in Sabah is for us to look at the provisions of the law approved at the Federal level… So we need to ensure that there is balance not only in terms of the parties but also the wishes and voice of the people.
“The study was conducted based on feedback from various parties and later, the Sabah Attorney-General’s Chambers formulated and tried to draft the law. After it was presented to the Cabinet, it agreed that the bill was ready to be presented for the state assembly session which has started, and which is scheduled for this Thursday,” he said
Armizan, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) told reporters this after the Dewan Rakyat sitting here yesterday (May 23).
Armizan said the anti-party hopping bill, which includes provisions to prevent those elected on the ticket of a political party from switching to another political party after winning a seat, emphasised three main principles, namely upholding the principles of democracy, respecting the people's rights through the election process and creating government stability.
“Although it is a bill brought by the government, to me it is a wish coming from all parties. So let there be no party politicising this, or allowing the bill to be drawn into polemics as this has been long voiced out and discussed,” he said.
He said GRS fully backed the bill and hoped that it would be passed with a two-thirds majority, in turn signifying full commitment by all political parties involved in the assembly sitting on Thursday.
“The bill has also gone through engagement sessions with GRS and Pakatan Harapan assemblymen and they want it to be tabled. We expect commitment from all parties for us to bring added value to the political journey in Sabah.
“… this is not the time for polemics, to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude or play victim.. Because the fact remains that various parties, the political ‘actors’ in Sabah, are affected by party hopping,” he said.
Citing the example of the change of the Sabah government in 2018 which saw the fall of former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman as a result of party hopping, Armizan said Thursday’s sitting was an important point to bring political stability in the state.
“The statement that this bill is an approach to strengthen the administration of (Sabah Chief Minister) Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor for me is inaccurate... the real fact is that in Sabah, there is a history of party hopping, and it’s been happening for a long time, and not just in recent times.
“To me, this is the time, the bill is now with them. InsyaAllah, all parties will be giving their commitment. Don't let narrow-minded politics prevent this good thing from happening,” he said.
On Sunday, Hajiji confirmed that the Sabah government will table the Anti-Party Hopping Bill during the four-day state assembly sitting that began on Monday.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency