LETTER

Anti-hop law and Clause 48(6) incompatible

Vijay Kumar Murugavell

Published
Modified 6 Oct 2008, 10:18 am

Dear YB Karpal Singh,

It is with a heavy heart that I read your stand terming crossovers as unethical and immoral.

Two decades ago Shahrir Samad resigned and re-contested as an independent in Johor Baru.

Shahrir did just what you are proposing, he did not hop, but got a fresh mandate from the constituents.

This led to the amendment of the federal constitution in 1990, specifically clause 48(6) which stipulates that if you resign you are not allowed to contest for the next five years, so even if one wants to go back to the people for a mandate one has to wait five years.

Having enacted this amendment more due to ‘loss of face’ than for reasons of expediency, the BN with impunity engineered defections in PBS to take control of the Sabah government.

They only take the moral high ground now, when the tables are turned.

So to legislate an anti-hop law, without repealing clause 48(6) is patently unfair, as it does not afford a parliamentarian any recourse in event the will of the people is that he changes his political affiliation.

A five-year mandate is not a carte blanche to do as one pleases, maintaining both the anti-hop law as well as clause 48(6) in its current form as it accords no remedy in cases where this mandate is abused.

If BN's actions of invoking the ISA to quell political dissent, dangerously playing up racist sentiments, sabotaging opposition-ruled states and grossly mismanaging the economy is not abuse, I don't know what is.

Surely as a veteran parliamentarian, respected constitutional lawyer (my late father used to term you as the best constitutional lawyer the country has ever had) and influential politician - you can appreciate this.

Besides, Anwar Ibrahim has promised that after the takeover, and after the Election Commission makes changes to the electoral rolls and constituencies and ridding us of the dreaded ISA and stabilising the economy, he will call for fresh polls within a year.

As it is, it is hard enough on Anwar, what with Hadi Awang of PAS declaring that he will not support a government that does not comprise of a Muslim majority in term of total seats.

I will write Tuan Guru Hadi an open letter too, after Hari Raya and put forward an appeal on behalf of like-minded citizens.

Meanwhile I wish you good health and happiness.