Constitutional amendment tabled in Malaysian parliament to pave way for anti-participation law

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“DEMOCRATIC PRACTICES UNHEALTHY AND WORRYING”

Mr. Wan Junaidi said that commitment to the law has become a priority of the government, given the recent political scenario which saw parliamentarians switch parties.

“This situation has generated a lot of debate and controversy among the public because it involves the mandate or trust of people who elect representatives to parliament,” he said.

Since the 2018 general election there has been “political unrest” which has seen three prime ministers appointed to the post and 39 parliamentarians change political allegiance, the minister said.

“It’s a clear sign that our country’s democratic practices are unhealthy and at a worrying level,” he said.

Mr. Wan Junaidi added that the government had agreed on Sunday that a bipartisan select committee would be established to consider the enactment of the new law.

He said the bill was due to be tabled in parliament in July on a date to be decided by the prime minister.

The bill was due for first reading on March 24, the last day of the last parliamentary meeting, but was postponed until April 11.

It was decided last week that the bill would not be tabled on April 11 following calls from Cabinet for more study to be carried out on the definition of ‘participation’.

In a statement on Monday, PH said the amendment to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution on freedom of association needs to be refined so that it is limited to the anti-party bill only.

He said the two sides had agreed that the constitutional amendment and anti-partisan bill would be tabled and approved in a special session of parliament before the end of May.

He added that the bill is one of the key terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the government and PH last September.

The proposed bill would result in seats being declared vacant and re-elections if parliamentarians change parties or are sacked from the party.

Mr Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying by the Star on Sunday that a target had been set for the bill to be tabled when parliament meets in July, although that would depend on the speed of the special committee.

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