Predicting wave of defections after GE15, Wong Chen says APHL vital to restore Malaysia's democracy
By Soo Wern Jun (28 May 2022) KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 - The anti-party hopping law (AHL) is crucial to prevent the raft of political defections that will likely occur after the 15th general election, said PKR MP Wong Chen. The Subang MP said this made it imperative that the legislation be passed as soon as possible to protect Malaysia’s democracy. “Obviously the last four state elections Barisan Nasional (BN) did very well, so it looks like they are on the course for victory. They may be in the driving seat in the last four state elections, but we also know that they only got 40 to 43 per cent.
“So, can you win the country with 40 or 43 per cent, hard question, cause first past the post means theoretically it’s possible, but can they win like 60 per cent? I don’t think so, 51 or 52 per cent — a tiny majority — then you get unstable.
“So it’s important that we pass the AHL first, cause if you don’t win big, then hop, hop and hop, it will be chaos again,” Wong told Malay Mail in an interview. Despite the multiple delays to the proposed AHL, Wong remained confident that the piece of legislation will go through.
The two-term MP said he was bullish because none from either side of the political aisle has openly opposed the law.
“There are minor variations of views, but in principle, most of them agree, and if most of them agree, we need the AHL to be a constitution amendment and we do have the numbers for that two-third majority to pass it,” he said. Time running out Despite this confidence, however, Wong said there was still a danger that the general election could be called before the law could be passed and implemented.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must be adamant that the AHL be in place before he calls for GE15, Wong added. “The people should demand that because what you don’t want is, after the general election, the hopping starts, then it’s really upsetting,” he said, noting that the AHL would go towards addressing voter disillusionment caused by previous defections. At the moment, Wong said the minister in charge of the AHL, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, was still collecting lawmakers’ and public views about the legislation.
“His job is to cobble together the majority views, it’s not easy,” said Wong. Bipartisanship Wong then repeated his prediction that the next winner of the general election would only gain a small majority.
“When it comes to a slim majority, with our tightening fiscal position and global economic crisis, it’s actually the best time for all the MPs to sit down and try to do the right thing together.
“I see it happening because of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), but you can see inside the government they are so fractured. “I don’t understand how Bersatu, PAS and Umno ministers can sit together and hold Cabinet meetings when they are fighting each other politically, so this has to end,” he said.
While this showed the country was in urgent need of a general election, he said one must not be held until the AHL was in place.
The AHL was first mentioned by Wan Junaidi to be tabled earlier in February and has since met several delays. At the time, he said that the move was part of reforms following the signing of the MoU between the government and Pakatan Harapan last September.
Prior to the MoU, there had been calls to table anti-hopping laws following the collapse of several state administrations, particularly the Sabah government in 2020.