Anti-defection law mooted in Malaysia

March 23rd, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 23 (IANS) Citing India as an example, a Malaysian minister has proposed a law to ban “party hopping” amid speculation about likely defections by some MPs of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN). “I will propose (an anti-defection law) to the cabinet for consideration. It is an issue of integrity and morality. I am sure Malaysians would not want their politicians to hop,” said Zaid Ibrahim, a minister in the prime minister’s department.

Zaid Saturday said that this would be among the first actions he would initiate, adding that such laws were in existence in many countries including India.

BN, which has ruled Malaysia since independence, emerged victorious, but weak in this month’s election, with its comfortable two-thirds majority reduced to a simple one.

The speculation about the defections became rife with former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) insisting that he had “calls” from BN members, offering to cross over.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, however, has denied any break in his ranks and has accused the opposition, which has 82 members in a house of 222, of using money to lure BN members.

“There may be stories being spread right now but we have not identified anyone who will switch to other parties,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

“All this while, we are confident that they are loyal to Barisan Nasional. They must remember that they are selected by the party to contest and they did so under Barisan Nasional’s ticket,” he added.

Anwar Ibrahim, however, maintained that BN members had called him, but denied that he was trying to purchase them.

“It is not our tradition to buy them over. They must adhere to our policies and struggle to see changes in the country if they intend to join us,” New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

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