February 18, 2022
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today said the proposed new laws against switching political parties and limiting the prime minister’s term will be tabled in March.
He said it had been difficult to get the new laws approved but was made possible with the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU), which he said brought about some peace and stability to the country.
“It is stated in the MOU that we must conclude our findings by March but we have not come to a conclusion on the definition of the word ‘term’ and there are still 20 questions from the attorney general (AG) that haven’t been answered,” he said today during an online seminar.
“These amendments have never been done before. What does ‘two terms’ mean? Is it the term he is in office or the five years? Like Tan Sri Muhyiddin, for example, he was in office for 17 months, and now, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob whose term is ongoing. How do we define this? That’s the difficulty.”
Wan Junaidi said amending one law requires several other amendments to the Constitution, of which some of the legislations were outdated.
Drafting of the anti-party hopping Bill or provisions required detailed studies and holistic engagement sessions in order for policies to be decided first, he added.
These changes were being championed by the Political Transformation and Stability Steering Committee, which he said had also worked on the Undi18 law, which will be used for the first time in the Johor state election in March.
The policy on the proposed anti-party hopping provisions and limiting the prime minister’s term was presented to members of Parliament for their feedback and views on February 9.
The policy was discussed by the Political Transformation and Stability Steering Committee on January 25.
Wan Junaidi said he, together with the Legal Affairs Division and the Attorney General’s Chambers, would continue to hold engagement sessions with all political parties and their leaders to forge agreements on the proposed policy and legislation.
However, that came with its own set of challenges, the minister added.
“Apart from a few other amendments also needing attention, the other problem is I have to convince everyone of my findings. I had no choice but to meet and convince everyone and I have been travelling around the country to do this,” he added.
“However, another problem was these groups, even though they are from the same party, we had to meet them at different times as they did not want to meet at the same time so we had to meet them by group and not party,” he said.
“Nevertheless, once we have reasonably concluded our draft we are going to table it and all this could not have been done without the MOU. We will need at least a two-third majority to support this and that means 148 out of 220 MPs.”
The first Dewan Rakyat session for the year will be held from February 28 to March 24.
The first three weeks will be dedicated to debates on and ministerial replies to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s speech on the opening day, while the last week has been set aside for Bills and other government matters.