SEREMBAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) election candidates who decided to switch sides after winning their seats will be slapped with a RM10 million (S$3.4 million) fine by the party, said a party official in Negeri Sembilan.
The state's PKR chief Aminuddin Harun said those who were given their candidate appointment letters by party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had to sign a legal document agreeing to the fine.
"In the last election, the fine was RM5 million. It is higher this time because we expect a closer fight," he said here after introducing nine PKR candidates on Tuesday (April 24).
The PKR stems from previous elections where Members of Parliament or state assemblymen had jumped ship after winning on the ticket of another party.
In Malaysia, lawmakers are allowed to change sides while keeping their seats.
In 2009, barely a year after federal opposition parties won the Perak state assembly, two PKR assemblymen and one from Democratic Action Party declared they were independent lawmakers friendly to Barisan Nasional (BN).
Their defections were enough to allow BN to grab back the northern Malaysian state, despite intense legal moves by the opposition parties to block this and public anger.
There were claims that the two PKR and one DAP assemblymen/woman were paid to leave their parties.
A similar event happened after the 1994 elections in Sabah, when Parti Bersatu Sabah won the seat by defeating BN. The state assembly flipped back to BN after defections by several PBS lawmakers.
In 2015, when former leaders of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) left the party to form Parti Amanah Negara, PAS leaders say the move had nullified the marriages of these lawmakers. These MPs and state assemblymen had apparently signed documents with leaders of the Islamic party to say that should they leave PAS, they would leave behind their constituencies which would be put up for by-elections, or forfeit their marriages.
But the Amanah leaders ignored the claims.
Amanah has seven MPs and seven state assemblymen who were all from PAS.