By Free Malaysia Today

Azalina Othman Said said the government would have broad powers under the current plan to restrict MPs’ rights to join a party.

A constitutional provision allowing for disqualification of MPs should be amended along with a proposed amendment to restrict MPs rights to membership of political parties, a former Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat said today.

Azalina Othman Said, a lawyer by training, said the current proposal to restrict the right to freedom of association would give the government broad powers.

“Amending this article without strictly defining the anti-hopping law would be too wide and dangerous,” she said today.

She suggested that such anti-hopping laws could later be challenged on constitutional grounds. “Why not also amend Article 48(6) on Monday to avoid a potential constitutional crisis in future,” she said in a tweet today.

Article 48 sets out the grounds on which an MP or senator may be disqualified. Clause 6 prohibits an MP or senator who resigns their seats from contesting in elections for five years from the date of resignation.

The proposed anti-hopping law would call for the resignation of an MP or state assembly member who leaves their party after being elected.

The government has said this bill will be tabled at a later date.

Earlier today, lawyer New Sin Yew said the proposed constitutional amendment had the potential to give the government full control over other political parties.

He had also called for an amendment to Article 48 on the right to disqualify MPs.