Malaysian Indian leader calls for anti-defection law

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian opposition leader has called for enacting an anti-defection law after one of his party legislators switched sides to be ‘friendly’ to the ruling coalition.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Karpal Singh urged the government to consider enacting anti-hopping legislation or a code of ethics for politicians to ensure that elected representatives vacate their seats after quitting the party.

His plea came after Perak state legislator Keshwinder Singh, also an ethnic Indian, quit the DAP to become a Barisan Nasional (BN)-friendly independent assemblyman.

The DAP chairman said the trend now was for a politician to quit the party but choose to remain as an elected representative.

“Ethically, they should also quit the post as they were voted on a political affiliation of either the Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat (opposition alliance).

“Keshwinder Singh must now do the honourable thing and vacate his assemblyman’s post,” The Star newspaper quoted him as saying.

Singh was one of the five Perak legislators who had, in February last year, lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, alleging that the Barisan Nasional had offered them bribe to switch over.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Barisan Nasional chief, said “only Keshwinder knows” why he quit the DAP.

Perak had elected a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)-led government in March 2008, in which DAP was a constituent. The government lost majority due to defections. The DAP has now 16 seats in the 60-member legislature.

Malaysia has around 1.7 million Indian population.

Filed under: Politics

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