Dr M: Parties forming coalitions post-election should not be considered ‘hopping’
should be awarded to Mahathir, King of Frogs
PARLIAMENT | Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Pejuang-Langkawi) said parties coming together as a coalition to form a simple majority government after an election should not fall under the ambit of any future anti-hopping law.
Even though the former prime minister acknowledges the need to prevent parliamentarians from “party-hopping”, he cautioned that it is not as simple as outlawing “hopping”.
“Sometimes in an election, there isn’t any one party with enough numbers to form the government.
“In such situations, there is a need for other parties to come together with the party with the most amount of support so that the number of government MPs exceeds half of those in the Dewan Rakyat.
“The act of combining among other parties with the biggest party is not something that can be interpreted as hopping.
“That is why we cannot simply outlaw hopping but we need to explain how we interpret hopping and not just simply accuse (that) hopping has occurred,” Mahathir said in his speech in the Dewan Rakyat today.
However, he stressed that the process of the parties cooperating should be in line with the respective parties’ constitutions.
Other instances that should not be considered as “party-hopping” is when members of a party are kicked out for whatever reason and decide to join another.
That is why Mahathir stressed that it is essential to thoroughly examine the issue of “party-hopping” so that the august House can function smoothly without interference from any members.
A form of bribery
Mahathir also questioned the appointments of several individuals to minister-level positions under the current administration, saying that it is a form of “bribery”.
“When they are appointed to minister-level, we don’t know the set criteria on how it is given out, but we know when it is given, they will get all the benefits given to ministers.
“This is a form of bribery because it does not focus on the job they will do, but instead on the perks they will get as someone who is minister-level,” he said.
The former prime minister admitted that he had also appointed people to minister-level positions back when he was in power.
However, he said he appointed those who had retired from politics and those who have expertise in certain fields.
“We should have set criteria before we appoint someone to a minister-level position. Otherwise, it will be like bribery for those who support the government.
“This sort of practise should be ended by the reformation the government had said they would implement,” he said.
Among the reforms the federal government had promised in its memorandum of understanding with Pakatan Harapan was to enact an anti-hopping law.
However, there is no such bill in the order paper for this parliamentary session.