Policy Paper: Anti-Defection Law: An Exploration of Legal Reforms
Updated: May 13
Bait Al Amanah (House of Trust) published a new policy paper titled 'Anti-Defection Law; An Exploration of Legal Reforms' authored by Benedict Weerasena (Research Director of Bait Al Amanah), Simraatraj Kaur Dhillon & Farah Ilyana Mohd Anuar (Research & Advocacy Analysts of Bait Al Amanah).
The main findings and recommendations of the paper are as below:
Where ethics has failed to deter rampant party-hopping, the law has to step in for the sake of political stability.
The Anti-Defection Law aims to balance the right to associate and the need to restore voters’ mandate and trust in a stable political system.
Party-hopping is defined as Members of Parliament (MPs) who defect to another political party in the same or different coalition, defect to become an Independent or join a political party after winning as an Independent.
The Anti-Defection Law should cover both Houses of Parliament, including the 26 Senators in the Dewan Negara who are elected by the State Legislative Assembly.
We advocate for a Federally enabled system, where amendments in the Federal Constitution mandate the State Legislative Assemblies to have their own Anti-Defection Law and empower the State Legislative Assemblies to choose its form and mechanism.
We submit that constitutional provisions in our Federal Constitution are sufficient to implement the Anti-Defection Law, instead of the need to enact an ordinary law.
Beyond an Anti-Defection Law, other reforms needed include enacting a political financing act, equal/equitable constituency development fund, a constitutional limit on the number of Cabinet posts, and addressing the issue of selective persecution through institutional reform.
The full policy paper is attached below: