Party hopping might be necessary if no one has simple majority, says Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR: Party hopping might be necessary if no single coalition garners a simple majority after a general election to form a stable government, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Pejuang-Langkawi).

He said if party hopping was totally banned, a strong government would not be formed and it could trigger another general election.

“To avoid that, I believe if the defection involves the entire party, which joins another party which has inadequate seats, on condition that it was endorsed by the party’s leadership and in line with the Constitution, there will then be a majority,” he said when debating the Anti-hopping Bill.

Dr Mahathir said party hopping should be banned if the defection took place without the party’s endorsement.

“One, two or three people can bring down a party… such as what happened recently, when a number of MPs defected to a party, causing the collapse of the government and subsequently, the Opposition became the government.

“There should be clarity on this matter as it involves actions that are not sanctioned by the party, and it took place due to the motivation of position or money that is offered to those who are defecting,” he said.

The Anti-hopping Bill was tabled for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (July 27) and MPs from all sides of the divide are set to continue debates on the Bill on Thursday (July 28).

The Bill was initially slated to be tabled in March, but was deferred to a special one-day sitting on April 11.

However, there was a hiccup on the tabling of the Bill following resistance from all sides of the political divide, as MPs were concerned on the definition of party-hopping and potential abuse of the law.

The Bill was later referred to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) for further scrutiny by the MPs.