July 25, 2022
New laws to restrict MPs from switching parties will not cover members of the upper house, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Wan Junaidi said the matter was discussed by the select committee set up to review the relevant bill, but the committee decided that the law will only cover MPs.
He said it was up to the government to decide whether or not to include senators in the future.
“The select committee decided to concentrate (on MPs) first. If the need arises in the future, the government can decide whether to include senators,” he added.
While MPs are elected by voters, senators are selected by 13 legislative assemblies (two for each state) and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister.
Unlike MPs, senators have no say over who gets to be prime minister.
Wan Junaidi was speaking to reporters after his briefing for government MPs on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 2022 which will introduce new laws to restrict MPs from switching parties.
He will hold a similar briefing for opposition MPs tomorrow. The Dewan Rakyat is scheduled to debate the bill on Wednesday and Thursday.
On whether the law will cover assemblypersons, Wan Junaidi explained that the enforcement of the new law at the state level can only be done after discussions are held with the Malay rulers and governors.
“Only if it is agreed by the sultans or the governments can the law be introduced at the state level,” he added.