Why I disagree with calls for an anti-hopping law

Posted on August 26, 2012

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Let’s imagine I join PAS, contest PJ Selatan parliamentary seat in the 13th GE, and win.

Then, post the 13th GE, unity talks between UMNO and PAS surface again.

And central to these talks is hudud and an Islamic state.

I call for a town hall meeting with PJ Selatan voters to discuss this latest turn of events and to  be given direction by those who elected me.

500 show up and near unanimously tell me that I should oppose this move by my party.

I then write to my party leaders and inform them that my constituents oppose these unity talks and that unless PAS immediately ceases these unity talks with UMNO, I will resign from the party and join DAP.

The party’s response : I am referred to the disciplinary committee who issue me a notice to show cause why action should not be taken against me.

My response to their response : I send in my immediate resignation and simultaneously  apply to join DAP, who, incidentally, are also opposed to this unity talks and, so, gladly accept my application.

I have party-hopped, yes?

For the right reasons, yes?

My constituents and voters would approve, yes?

Accept, therefore, that there may be occasions where an elected representative, for the very best and the most altruistic reasons, needs to part ways with the party on whose ticket he contested and won.

It is the Hee Yit Foongs, the Zul Nordins and Keshminders that we want to avoid.

On who lies the burden of ensuring as best we can that we do not have to put up with those who crossover because they are seduced by financial gratifications, promises of power, or succumb to blackmail and extortion?

First, the political parties.

They need to be absolutely diligent in their candidate selection process in ensuring as best they can candidates picked have been thoroughly screened and are men and women of the highest possible integrity.

Second, the voters themselves.

Voters must reject any candidate who they may have reason to believe  will party-hop for  the wrong reasons.

The political parties cannot abdicate their responsibility to pick and offer candidates of the highest integrity by mooting a law that bars party hopping.

By so doing, they would have taken away from the voters, in my imaginary situation depicted above, to direct me to resign from PAS and move on to another party.

In the scenario I described above, I would, until Article 48(6) of the constitution was introduced, have had the option of resigning my parliamentary seat and then contesting as an independent so that voters would have the opportunity, at the bye-election, to stick two fingers up the nose of my ex-party by voting me in again as an independent.

The opposition parties should be talking about undoing Article 48(6) when they come to power, and not about having an anti-hopping law in place.

And to ensure candidates of integrity are offered in the next GE, they ought to be wary about offering as candidates party-hoppers they appear to be readily receiving from BN of late.

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