Thursday, August 18

ROSE: Enact similar anti-hopping provisions in Sarawak

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ROSE had earlier said that the existing anti-hopping provision in the state constitution was weak and ineffective and hence should be strengthened.

KUCHING (July 31): Rise of Social Efforts (ROSE) calls on the Sarawak government to expeditiously enact similar anti-hopping provisions in Sarawak after the federal constitutional amendments are gazetted and consented to by the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri.

In a statement yesterday, it said this would involve amendments to the state constitution with regards to disqualification of assemblypersons.

It said the Bill, which was just passed by the Dewan Rakyat, also amended the provisions in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, which is a schedule containing what states must have in their constitution.

“Essential amendment is the one pertaining to disqualification of state assemblymen. So it’s one thing to amend the Federal Constitution, that is, federal law and for the TYT to consent to its application to Sarawak.

“It is another for the state government to move for these provisions to be incorporated into our state constitution to streamline the changes so that state assemblypersons will also have to give up their seats if they party hop,” it said.

ROSE had earlier said that the existing anti-hopping provision in the state constitution was weak and ineffective and hence should be strengthened.

“We also note that members of parliament (MPs) belonging to the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) did not raise any objections to the amendments to the Eighth Schedule.

“We therefore conclude that the state government will in due course without delay amend our constitution accordingly,” it said.

ROSE views the latest constitutional amendment passed by Dewan Rakyat on July 28 as a great success in the country’s parliamentary history and democracy.

It said the move was a testament also to the way law-making can be a bi-partisan effort and consultative in nature by the setting up and working of a Parliamentary Select Committee, in this case a special one set up by the Dewan itself.

“Hence we congratulate Minister of Law Dato Sri Wan Junaidi and 54 MPs who have debated and those who gave a resounding vote to the Bill (209).

“From the debates we observe that each and every one of the MPs who debated the bill tacitly acknowledged that the voters or citizens have become sick and tired of politics and are losing confidence in politicians and governance in general and that it was time for this piece of legislation to bring semblance of hope to the people in the voting process or outcome and to parliamentary democracy,” it said.

However, ROSE noted from the debates and issues brought up by the MPs when debating the Bill that there are weaknesses in it, which will need other solutions via other reforms or mechanisms.

These include recall elections, making Parliament a fixed term Parliament, reforms in political financing and allocating equal or equitable constituency development funds to all MPs and state assemblypersons.