The first reading of the anti-party-hopping bill, which was supposed to be tabled in this month’s Parliament sitting, has been postponed.
Utusan Malaysia reported today that a source in the Prime Minister’s Department said the tabling of the bill requires engagement with all sides of the political divide.
As many of the lawmakers were involved in the Johor snap polls which concluded yesterday, the source said this situation led to the tabling of the bill being postponed.
“Before the dissolution of the Johor state assembly, the instructions received were that it must involve engagement with the leadership of all political parties as a condition, but a few political parties could not give their full commitment because they were involved in the state elections, that (the engagement) could not be done at this time.”
“Even though there is already a date set for the tabling of the first reading, it still cannot proceed because it touches on the aspect of engagement with the elected representatives and this matter has been agreed upon at the cabinet level,” the source said.
The source explained that the engagement session with the lawmakers is meant to explain the purpose of the bill as well as the interpretation of “party-hopping” including when one leaves a political party or coalition.
However, the source noted that a draft of the bill is already fully prepared and it only needs to be tabled in Parliament.
“The bill is already ready. It is just the explanation to the (parliamentarians) that has not been done. The new date (of tabling) will be decided between the government and the opposition,” the source said.
When asked if the bill would see the day of light or if it is just academic in nature, the source stressed that the government is serious about implementing the bill.
“Do not say that it is just academic. The government is not playing politics in this matter,” the source said.
On March 5, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had assured that the bill would be tabled before the end of the current parliamentary sitting on March 24.
A number of Pakatan Harapan leaders had also said that the bill would be tabled this sitting.