The Coalition for Clean & Fair Elections (BERSIH) urges the Prime Minister to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) to put into effect the Anti-Hopping Constitutional Amendments without any further delay. The much-anticipated constitutional amendments were gazetted on September 6th. Initially Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi had declared that it would be enforced latest by mid-September, at a press conference in Parliament on Aug 9th (1). However more recently, it was announced that the date on which it would come into effect would be announced later by the YDPA.
BERSIH is curious as to why the enforcement of this amendment is being delayed. It was passed unanimously by both Houses of Parliament. As the 15th General Elections looms, it is imperative it comes into force so that voters can vote with the peace of mind that their choice will not be invalidated due to post-election defections by elected Members of Parliament (MP). Under this amendment, if any MP changes party, their parliamentary seat will be automatically vacated and a by-election will be called unless it is less than 2 years before the Parliamentary term ends, then no by-election will be called to fill the vacancy.
If the concern is the acceptance of this law at the State-level, which requires the consent of the Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of each State, the whole amendment except for part related to the Eighth Schedule to the Federal Constitution may come into force first. This is explicitly allowed under sections 1(2) and (3) of this amendment. There is no reason to delay the enforcement of the national consensus, which has been shown in the parliamentary voting, at the federal level.
BERSIH anticipates that this amendment will encourage a good voter turnout which is essential in a democracy for any elected government to have a strong and legitimate mandate to govern for the next five years.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH