Former Malaysia deputy speaker Azalina to propose Bill for 'recall elections' to curb party hopping

Ms Azalina Othman Said said the recall election would enable voters to withdraw the mandate they had given to lawmakers who switched parties. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said will submit a notice of motion to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azizan Harun to table a Recall Bill, by which MPs will be held accountable for party hopping.

Ms Azalina, who is MP for Pengerang in Johor, said the notice she intends to send to Mr Azhar will be a Private Member's Bill.

"I hope this motion will be the starting point to introduce a 'Recall Election' in this coming September Parliament session," she said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 1), which was posted on Twitter.

A recall election is a by-election that is called in a constituency in the event that an elected MP seeks to switch parties after an election.

Ms Azalina explained that a recall election would enable voters to withdraw the mandate they had given to lawmakers who switched parties, with a by-election to be held to choose a new lawmaker for that seat.

Former prime minister Najib Razak had earlier on Sunday suggested recall elections instead of an anti-hopping law, saying that it would be "more fair" to the original party and voters.

Mr Najib said it would be a worse outcome if there were MPs who were interested in joining other parties but were forced to stay put because of a law banning them from changing parties.

Ms Azalina also said she intended to form a caucus on parliamentary reform and multi-party democracy among interested MPs.

"This will strengthen the Malaysian parliamentary institution and also the parliamentary democracy system in the country," she added.

She also thanked and credited electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 for conducting the initial research on mechanisms to sack an elected representative.

Earlier in her statement, Ms Azalina said it was of concern that after 64 years of independence, incidences of party hopping still occur among elected representatives.

"Many Malaysians are questioning, what's the point of voting if elected representatives can trade the mandate given to them after the elections?" she said.

Ms Azalina said competition among political parties is supposed to be positive and beneficial to the public, adding that politicians must be brave enough to make politics a career option that is not only professional, but also respected by the people.

"The public perception of politicians is very embarrassing and personally speaking, I'm shocked," she added.

The next session of Malaysia's Parliament will begin on Sept 13, and will take place for 17 days until Oct 12.

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