Can the morally tainted Buhangkot become kingmaker over anti-hopping laws? 



KOTA KINABALU: All eyes are on the proposed Anti-Hopping Bill wihich is expected to be tabled at the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

The bill would need the support of two-thirds of lawmakers, including Nominated assemblymen, to ensure passage. 

Interestingly, some lawmakers who left their original party, switched parties, or declared themselves independents are likely to become kingmakers in the legislature when the bill is passed. 

For some, this is a bit of a strange scenario — Buhangkot (frogs) turn out to be the saviour ?

A question arises here. How can lawmakers who are eager to legislate as soon as possible the proposed bill – deliberately ignore the people mandate by becoming independent or switching parties? Despite being free to choose their own political destiny according to democratic principles, this frog culture seems morally repugnant.

Local political analyst Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto said the practice of cross-party “hijrah” is nothing new in the political arena. It has long shaped the political arena of Sabah and has even changed the state’s political landscape on several occasions. 

“Party hopping or “hijrah” are not uncommon in any country in the world that practiises a democratic system. This often happens depending on the current political climate and requirements.

“Similar things are happening in Malaysia, especially in Sabah. Several previous state governments, including the PBS government in 1994 and the Warisan coalition government in 2020, have collapsed due to party-hopping,” he told Jesselton Times.

“Changing a political party is not the same as changing a religion. There is also no big sin in the exercise of democracy, as each individual has the right to determine his own future.

Zaki said there is indeed wisdom behind the hijrah culture and party hopping, as it has finally succeeded in ensuring that the state government remains politically and economically stable. 

But Zaki said many people feel that party hoppimg is immoral and ignores people’s mandate and trust.

“At the grassroots level, some feel being betrayed when an assemblyman they support leaves their party after being elected and joins another party.

“They say there was a case where an assemblyman swtiched parties more than five times, whom they call — the King of Frogs,” he said in jest.

Given the negative impact of the party hopping act, it is time for the Sabah government to introduce the Anti Hopping Party Act.

“Hopefully, the Madani concept inspired by the Prime Minister will permeate the souls of all assemblymen…enough is enough, Now is the time to move forward…let us prioritise and savour the true Madani recipe… no more “kelintung” game,” he said of the Anti Hopping Bill.

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