KUALA LUMPUR: There are a few criteria that define party hopping by a Member of Parliament in the administrative draft of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) told the Dewan Negara that one of the criteria is when an MP announces he is leaving the political party he contested for in an election, to be an independent member or join another political party.

The other is when an MP is expelled from the political party. This is for the purpose of ensuring that MPs abide by the party’s constitution, rules and regulations.

“The party that sacked the MP concerned will face the risk of losing the seat and an election will have to be held again,” he said in response to a question from Senator Datuk John Ambrose.

Ambrose had asked the government to state its action and plans that had been drawn up for the implementation of the anti-hopping law.

Wan Junaidi said the law would also be applicable to Independent MPs who announced they were joining a political party after their victory.

He said this was because the action by the MP is considered a breach of trust given by the people because the MP was running as an independent candidate instead of being a member of a political party.

“If the Bill is passed, the law will take effect prospectively and not retrospectively,” he added.

Wan Junaidi also said that the government had conducted six consultation sessions with government backbenchers and members of the Dewan Negara on Feb 8.

Opposition lawmakers were consulted on Feb 9, while the top leadership of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was consulted on March 2.

A meeting with the top leadership of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was held on March 7 while the top leaders of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) were consulted on March 8, he added.

“The Cabinet meeting on March 11 agreed that the engagement sessions with the main parties, namely Barisan Nasional and Bersatu, must continue in order to explain the main policy matters of the Bill,” he said.

The technical transformation and political stability committee, which involves the government and members of the Opposition, met yesterday to fine tune the core items of the Bill.

The anti-party hopping Bill is expected to be tabled in a special Dewan Rakyat sitting on April 11.