Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor today tabled the Constitution of the State of Sabah (Amendment) Enactment 2023 which is aimed at preventing party-hopping by members of the State Legislative Assembly.

Hajiji said the proposed amendments, among others, were aimed at ensuring political stability and putting an end to the endless political crises which Sabah had been facing.

“These amendments will also send a clear message to every state assemblyman to hold true to the principle of their party to protect the mandate and trust of voters who elected them in elections.

“I am confident that this enactment can also put a stop to the action of assemblymen, whether elected or appointed, to switch parties without solid or reasonable grounds and ensure long-term political stability in the state,” he said when tabling the motion in the State Legislative Assembly.

He said the anti-party hopping law would not have retrospective effect and the implementation of the enactment would begin from the date it comes into force.

Under the enactment, an assemblyman who jumps to another party, regardless of whether that party is in the same coalition or not, will lose his seat.

“Any assemblyman who changes parties or leaves his party to become an independent member of the Legislative Assembly will have to vacate his seat,” he added.

Hajiji said the membership of a Legislative Assembly member refers to his membership in a political party, irrespective of whether that party is part of a coalition of parties or not.

“Apart from that, membership of a Legislative Assembly member also refers to an assemblyman who is not a member of any political party in a coalition but is a direct member of the coalition party,” he said.

He said the membership of an assemblyman in a coalition would not be considered in the application of the anti-hopping law because the main determining principle is membership in a particular political party.

He also said the party symbols under which assemblymen contested in elections would not be considered in the anti-party hopping law.

On exemptions in the anti-party hopping law, Hajiji said assemblymen would not lose their seats if their political parties were dissolved or deregistered, or they were expelled by their parties.

“The exemption also applies to an assemblyman who resigns from his political party upon his election as Speaker. This matter will not cause the Speaker to lose his seat in the Legislative Assembly,” he added.

The motion is being debated in the assembly.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency