Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 22.10.2012.
The PR state government will not be deterred by BN’s support for the culture of political frogs but is determined to table a historic constitutional amendment to push through an anti-hopping law in the Penang state assembly meeting on 1 November 2012. The State Legal Advisor has been tasked with the necessary process of gazetting the proposed constitutional amendment.
Any amendment to the Penang state constitution requires a 2/3 majority and PR has the required numbers by holding 29 out of the 40 seats. All 3 parties in Penang PR of PAS, PKR and DAP have also supported the proposed constitutional amendment requiring State Assembly members who jump or change their party affiliation to resign and recontest in a by-election.
BN and MCA have taken the opportunity to hit out at the Penang state government at yesterday’s MCA Annual General Assembly by dramatically labelling the proposed anti-hopping law as unconstitutional and that it will even creating a constitutional crisis that will be the very foundation of the Federal Constitution and the nation at risk. The Penang state government believes that the anti-hopping law should be within the Federal Constitution for 3 principal reasons.
One, it respects the democratic mandate of the people being kingmakers by allowing their constituents to either support or reject the decision of their elected representatives to hop from one party to another. As parliamentary democracy is the basis of our Federal Constitution, the anti-hopping law by reinforcing its democratic character will only serve to strengthen the Federal Constitution.
Two, the anti-hopping law does not infringe on a person’s right of freedom of association as he or she can join any party subject to a renewal of mandate by the constituents. Finally this will also ensure the practice of political accountability as well as principled values and public integrity in Penang, where elected representatives can not be traded like a commodity at the highest price.
BN and MCA’s condemnation of Penang PR’s anti-hopping laws provides a stark difference between BN’s focus on party interests and personalities as compared to PR emphasis on policies and people.
Lim Guan Eng