Anti-Hopping Law: If Karpal Singh Is Still Alive, He Would Probably Tell UMNO – “I Told You So”

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Dec 21 2018
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Twenty years ago, Karpal Singh, the Tiger of Jelutong, said party hopping should be outlawed as it was tantamount to cheating and deception. The former chairman of DAP, who passed away in 2014, argued that the trust of the voters is sacred, therefore, there must be honour among the elected representatives. And he had pushed for anti-hopping law to be enacted.


Yes, as early as 2008, Mr. Karpal had called for the Government to consider enacting anti-hopping legislation to ensure that elected representatives vacate their seats after quitting the party they represented. It was the same year where the opposition, for the first time since the 1969 election, succeeded in denying the incumbent BN coalition its two-thirds supermajority in the Malaysian Parliament.


The issue of defections was hotly debated after opposition PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim alleged that he met Barisan Nasional (BN, National Front) MPs from Sabah and Sarawak on crossing over to the Opposition. Of course, the BN regime was too arrogant to see the bigger picture of the importance (or rather dangerous) of anti-hopping law. After all, they were still the government of the day.

Hee Yit Fong with Najib - Defects After Paid RM25 Million

The 2009 Perak Constitutional Crisis, which saw the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat state government when three of its state legislators defected to Barisan Nasional, had given the BN regime more reason not to give any consideration to the anti-hopping law, which brought no benefits to them. The belief was that such frogs would only hop from the opposition camp to the government camp.


In 2010, Karpal Singh again called for anti-hopping law to be enacted. And, again, the ruling Barisan coalition government had ignored such requirement. By then, Najib Razak, the man who engineered the 2009 Perak Crisis, was crowned as the new prime minister. His mantra of “cash is king” meant everything and everyone can be bought, so to hell with the anti-hopping laws.


But karma is a bitch and what goes around comes around. The same Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional coalition had never dreamt that after ruling the country for 61 years since independence in 1957, the regime would collapse one day. Their luck did not only run out on May 9th, 2018, but turns for the worse ever since – about 20 years after the late Karpal Singh told them so.

Karpal Singh - Tiger of Jelutong

Today, Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin sings like a canary on the needs for anti-hopping law, after a mass exodus from Sabah UMNO where nine of 10 of its assemblymen, five of six MPs and two senators had left the party. As the sole remaining MP and opposition representing Sabah UMNO, Mr. Bung is now at the receiving end of unethical hopping.


Clearly hurt by the mass defections of his own comrades, Bung said – “It is time for the Pakatan Harapan government to fulfil the people’s aspirations by tabling a motion to have such a law at the Dewan Rakyat. If not, party-hopping will continue becoming a trend, enabling those who lost in election to simply join the winning party and take advantage of other people’s suffering.”


Isn’t it too late for Bung Moktar to sing songs of praise for a code of ethics for politicians now? Make no mistake about it. Given half the choice, Bung Moktar, the same man Karpal Singh called a “big foot” back in 2008, would have joined his colleagues and defected too. Sadly, his name was too tainted and toxic to be even considered as a frog by the new government.

Controversial Kinabatangan MP - Bung Mokhtar Radin

Known for his controversial remarks and inflammatory behaviour, including making sexist remarks in Parliament about opposition politician Fong Po Kuan in regards to menstrual cycle, Bung Moktar had in 2008 mocked and insulted Karpal Singh for not standing up – despite knowing that the latter was paralysed from the waist down due to a car accident.


UMNO Sabah has been reduced to such a pathetic situation that a half-baked MP like Bung Moktar was considered a jewel and appointed as its chairman, not that they had any choice. In fact, everyone within UMNO wants to jump ship. Had the old regime enacted the anti-hopping laws from the beginning, they may not have plunged into the present crisis.


In the same breath, UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi might not have to quit had he supported the law. He had previously said legal action would be taken against members who jumped ship after the 14th general election. Exactly where was Zahid when Karpal Singh whined, cried and bitched for the anti-hopping laws to be introduced?

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - Quit UMNO - Dejected

Had the corrupt Barisan Nasional listened, instead of insulted, Karpal Singh some 20 years ago, the coalition would probably still intact and possess the original 79 parliamentary seats it had won. Had the arrogant UMNO taken the necessary precautions against potential defection after the 2008 election setback, they may still own 54 MPs, and not 37 as of today.


However, is it even possible to pass the anti-hopping laws, considering such bill could be declared as null and void and unconstitutional as it contravened Article 10 of the Federal Constitutional provision on “freedom of association”? Everything within the Constitution can be amended or introduced, as long as they have the parliamentary two-thirds majority.


Heck, during PM Mahathir Mohamad’s first era (1981 to 2003), he could easily pass anti-hopping laws with his two-thirds supermajority in the Malaysian Parliament. But he refused to for obvious reason. Now that the 93-year-old man has returned as premier for the second time, he can propose the law with the presumption that the desperate opposition would support the legislation.

Mahathir Mohamad - World’s Oldest PM - 1981 to 2003 and 2018 to Current

But why should Mahathir do that considering he’s in the winning camp, and not the opposition camp? Even if he wanted to do it, he would probably introduce the anti-hopping laws only after he interviewed, cherry-picked and admitted all the UMNO frogs in order to enlarge and strengthen his own party, PPBM. If Karpal is still alive today, he would probably tell UMNO – “I told you so.”


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