Since Barisan Nasional (BN) lost its governing power to the Pakatan Harapan coalition, several lawmakers from BN’s prominent party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) have defected to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
As the defection is seen as a “betrayal” to the people, UMNO has agreed to appoint a law firm and has also decided to take legal actions against the defectors according to its secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
However, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin has stated that the government is not planning to establish any legislation to prevent party hopping because it goes against the Federal Constitution, as subjected in 1992 Supreme Court ruling.
Hanipa also cited a case in Kelantan in the early 1990s as an example, which saw the anti-hopping law disqualifying two assemblymen who defected to UMNO from the now defunct party, Parti Melayu Semangat 46.
He further added that such laws will deny one’s right to freedom of association as enshrined under Article 10(1)(c) of the constitution.
Seven former UMNO members were accepted into Bersatu and were handed the membership documents on February 12, including former Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Minister Hamzah Zainuddin.