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LETTER | Parties showing authoritarian traits following anti-hopping law

LETTER | The anti-hopping law, which was meant to uphold the principles of democracy by prioritising the people’s mandate in political changes, has been abused by two parties, for now, to silent opposing voices.

Amanah and DAP, both the component parties of Pakatan Harapan, has amended their constitutions following the implementation of the law.

Their new provisions prescribe that party members who are viewed as “disobedient” to the fold would automatically lose their membership.

This is the way proposed by Law Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Tuanku Jaafar when the law was passed in Dewan Rakyat, where he provided tips for political leaders to play around with the loopholes of the law.

According to him, “automatic cease of membership” does not count as sacking, which means it counts as party hopping that will trigger a by-election.

Although the speech by Wan Junaidi doesn’t possess any legal effect, it clearly sets the path for all political leaders to follow.

More ‘puppets’

In my view, it is unprofessional for someone holding the legal affairs portfolio to do so, and its effects can be seen in the amendments made to Amanah and DAP’s constitutions.

It is obvious that Amanah and DAP want to utilise their constitutional amendment to control the political scenario in Malaysia. Those who are deemed as “disobedient” to the party will automatically cease their membership and trigger by-elections.

Until then, Amanah and DAP can place candidates who are deemed “obedient” to further push forward their political agenda.

This strongly violates the spirit of democracy, where the mandate to rule comes from the people. The party’s central leadership is now the main determiner of the country’s political fate, as they can call by-elections whenever they want, just by saying that a particular MP or assemblyperson is “disobedient”.

I always hold that no matter which party one is affiliated with, he or she must be provided with the right to criticise.

When the party’s direction or policies are seen as not good by one, he or she should be allowed to comment as that’s also part of his or her loyalty towards the party.

Blindly abiding by all party decisions is not loyalty, it’s called being a puppet!

The decision by Amanah and DAP certainly tainted Harapan’s image, which always claims itself as a reformist. Their action here clearly submits to conservatism.

If BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) are smart enough, they could use this against Harapan in the upcoming GE15 to slam them off the realm of reformist and open-minded party.

However, in my view, this is unlikely to happen, as both BN and PN also want to gain the determining power in Malaysia’s political development.

It is real competition for political control in Malaysia now, if the government and its leaders still choose to ignore the ill culture of party’s centric politics, which cannot be countered by the current anti-hopping law.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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