[This article originally appeared in Aug 2020, but has since been updated following new developments.]
2020 has proven to be a pretty wild year – for the whole world, and especially for Malaysians. To start with, just barely after New Year, our country was plunged into a political crisis and Muhyiddin Yassin came out the unexpected winner…and we thought that would have been the end of it. But that’s not the case, because following that, a number of Malaysian states were placed into their own versions of crises, such as Selangor and Melaka.
And it seemed that Sabah has fallen victim to the pattern as well, when Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal went ahead and dissolved the state assembly on the 29th of July, 2020. This came shortly after Shafie’s predecessor Musa Aman claimed that he had the numbers to form a new government under the Perikatan Nasional branding. So now, Sabah’s prepped for a snap elections to elect a whole new state assembly 60 days after its dissolution.
“I am eligible to be appointed as Sabah chief minister by the governor as I have the support of the majority (of state representatives).” – Musa, as quoted from Malaysiakini
But among all these state governments collapsing, there’s one thing in common: party-hopping. It seemed that many of our MPs deemed it A-okay just become kataks and leap from one party to another, garnering criticism from politicians and the rakyat alike.
So today, we shall see the level of katak-ness among our current MPs who are in office, categorizing them as:
- Katak king – those who’ve jumped three times or more
- Katak-in-training – those who’ve jumped once or twice
- Katak di bawah tempurung – those who’ve never jumped
However, do be aware that some of our MPs have at times left their parties and become independent MPs, but since they’re still technically in politics, we’ll count that as half a time. Also, we’re not gonna include Musa Aman, because he’s, you know, not an MP.
Katak king – when you’ve jumped so many times, you might as well be on top of KLCC
Contrary to popular belief, out of 222 MPs, only five of them have actually hopped parties for three times or more, making up only 2.5% of them! The highest number of jumps is 5, and there are two MPs tied for that spot. But let’s start with…
1. Jeffrey Kitingan (5 times)
Jeffrey Kitingan’s kinda made a name for himself as the resident katak having jumped parties five times in his entire political career. He started his political career with the United Sabah Party (PBS) in 1990, only to quit in 1994 to join the People’s Justice Front (AKAR). When he failed to garner a leadership position in AKAR, he gave up and rejoined PBS in 1999.
But then, he quit again in 2000, to try his luck with parties like United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO), but those didn’t work out for him. He apparently had a brief membership in UMNO, but the membership was revoked soon after. Kitingan would go on to be party-less for quite some time until Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party (PKR) accepted him in 2006. And you’d think that’d be the end of it, but no, Kitingan had to go out on a limb and quit PKR to establish a Sabahan branch of State Reform Party (STAR) in 2012, seemingly to fight for the rights of Sabah and Sarawak. So, you see, no one’s more deserving of the Katak King title than him.
And tying with him is actually someone from the neighboring state…
2. Larry Sng Wei Shien (5 times)
So when we originally wrote this article, Larry Sng was in third place, having lompat 4 times since first entering politics in 2001 under the Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS). He became the Pelagus rep in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly, replacing his dad, the millionaire businessman Sng Chee Hua.
In 2004, he joined Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) following the dissolution of PBDS and even became the deputy secretary-general, but by 2007 he left the party after a leadership tussle in PRS. Following a few more years as an independent, Larry formed the Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP) buuuuut he again would leave the party by 2016, again becoming an independent.
After winning the Julau MP post in the 2018 general election, he eventually joined PKR later that year, and remained in PKR until, well, this happened:
Katak-in-training – they’re getting there, but not on top of KLCC yet
Okay, so even though we only have five katak kings, we found that there’s quite a sum of our MPs who’ve jumped at least once, so we suppose that makes them kataks-in-training, as in they’re not quite at a legendary level of katak-ness yet, but if they keep up with it, they might as well be. Putting them all together, we calculated that there are already 56 MPs out of 222 that have party-hopped at least once, which is around 25% of our total MPs. Of course, there’s no other person we can start this category with other than…
6. Azmin Ali (2 times)
Oh, who can forget about him? The man who’s popularly blamed for the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. Azmin first started out in UMNO when he was handpicked by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to become Anwar Ibrahim’s Special Officer. But then he left UMNO to found PKR in 1998 after Anwar was imprisoned.
Things went kinda well, until Azmin and Anwar got into verbal fisticuffs and then…you know the rest of the story. When the whole PH government went down earlier this year, Azmin was sacked from PKR, along with 10 other people, and he subsequently joined the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM). In total, Azmin’s only jumped parties 2 times, so that kinda makes him a Katak-in-training.
13. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (1.5 times)
If we’re gonna talk about this man’s career, it’s gonna take us ten articles and a half, but we suppose y’all already know about his life and time as a Malaysian politician anyway. In short, Mahathir joined up UMNO In short, Mahathir joined UMNO in 1946, and kinda became really powerful after that.
And then he had moments of activeness and inactiveness after his retirement from the PM seat, until he became so unhappy with Najib Razak’s performance as PM that he straight up quit from UMNO and formed his own opposition party PPBM, joining up with PKR and DAP as the PH coalition. And he became PM again in 2018 – that was, until PH collapsed shortly after this year. Soon after, amidst a power struggle with his successor Muhyiddin, Mahathir was subsequently sacked from PPBM all together and became an independent politician.
23. Baru Bian (1.5 times)
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article contained errors which amounted to saying that Baru Bian switched parties 5 times. His office notified us of the errors, and provided us with the correct information below. Apologies to YB Baru Bian ☹️
We’ve actually written about him before, but let us just tell you about his jumping history briefly. He joined the Sarawak Native People’s Party (PBDS) in 1987, but when PBDS joined hands with UMNO later on, he decided to quit and become independent in 2004. A year later, he stood for the elections under the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket for the Ba’Kelalan state seat, but was not a member of the party.
Then, he joined PKR and won for the first time in 2008. For more than a decade, he remained a PKR MP, until this 2020, when the whole Sheraton Move thing with Azmin Ali and gang happened. However, unlike Azmin and gang, he didn’t go to PPBM – instead, he went the other way to the arms of the United Sarawak Party (PSB) in 2020.
32. Ahmad Faizal Azumu (1 time): UMNO > PPBM (2017)
33. Ali Biju (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
34. Zuraida Kamaruddin (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
35. Mansor Othman (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
36. Mohd Rashid Hasnon (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
37. Edmund Santhara Kumar (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
38. Willie Mongin (1 time): PKR > PPBM (2020)
39. Jonathan Yasin (1): PKR > PPBM (2020)
40. Mustapa Mohamed (1 time): UMNO > PPBM (2018)
41. Mohamad Sabu (1 time)
Apart from being that fella who threw a microphone, Mat Sabu’s also the founder of Amanah in 2015. This came after he and his cohort disagreed with PAS leadership at the time and decided to build their own Islamic party.
42. Darell Leiking (1 time): PKR > Warisan (2016)
43. Anwar Ibrahim (1 time)
Much like a lot of politicians, Anwar started his political career with UMNO in 1982 and held a number of ministerial positions while he was there. However, he soon started clashing the Prime Minister at the time Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and he ended up getting expelled from UMNO in 1998 and even got thrown into jail later on. Before he was thrown into jail though, Anwar managed to build PKR and has stayed with it since.
44. Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
45. Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
46. Khalid Samad (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
47. Mahfuz Omar (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2017)
48. Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
49. Mohd Hatta Ramli (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
50. Mujahid Yusof Rawa (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
51. Salahuddin Ayub (1 time): PAS > Amanah (2015)
52. Muhyiddin Yassin (1 time)
Just like Anwar and Mahathir, our current PM used to be an UMNO member, and he made it pretty high on the totem pole at that. However, it seemed that he got fired from UMNO for calling out Najib and his 1MDB scandal in 2015. But soon after that, he joined hands with Mahathir and became a founding member of PPBM. That relationship, as we all know, sored shortly after.
53. Rina Harun (1 time): UMNO > PPBM (2016)
54. Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (1 time): UMNO > PKR (1999)
55. Tan Yee Kew (1 time): MCA > PKR (2008)
56. Muslimin Yahya (1 time): UMNO > PPBM (2018)
57. Mohammad Ketapi (1 time): PBS > Warisan (2018)
58. Masir Kujat (1 time): PRS > PSB (2019)
59. Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (1 time): PKR > Warisan (2016)
60. Hassan Abdul Karim (1 time): Malaysian People’s Party (PRM) > PKR (2009)
61. Rozman Isli (1 time): UMNO > Warisan (2018)
62. Liew Vui Keong (1 time): Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) > Warisan (2018)
63. Steven Choong Shiau Yoon (1 time): PKR > Independent (2021)
Steven Choong is the other half of the PKR duo that left to become independent MPs supporting PM Muhyiddin. Prior to that, he had been with PKR for his whole political career, first contesting and losing the Tebrau MP seat in 2013 before winning it in 2018.
Katak di bawah tempurung – they barely know how to jump
While it’s a little alarming that around 27.5% of our politicians have kinda made it a habit to switch parties whenever they feel like it, you’ll perhaps find it comforting to know that the remaining 161 of our MPs seem to be pretty loyal to their parties, which makes up 72% of our Dewan Rakyat MPs. We can basically categorize them as katak di bawah tempurung, and have barely seen the world of party-hopping yet.
63. Mazslee Malik (0.5 time)
For someone who stirred up quite a lot of controversy during his stint as an Education Minister – black shoes, anyone – you can say that Maszlee actually seems to be quite a loyal guy. He joined PPBM in 2018 and has shown himself to be loyal to Mahathir all the while. He only had no choice but to become an independent because PPBM decided to boot him out this year.
64. Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (0.5 time): PPBM > Independent (2020)
65. Jugah Muyang (0.5 time): PKR > Independent (2020)
66. Richard Riot Jaem (Never): Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP)
67. Maximus Ongkili (Never): PBS
68. Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Never): UMNO
69. Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman (Never): PAS
70. Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (Never): PKR
71. Dr. Adham Baba (Never): UMNO
72. Ahmad Amzad Hashim (Never): UMNO
73. Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Never): PAS
74. Ahmad Fahmi Mohamad Fahzil (Never): PKR
75. Ahmad Hamzah (Never): UMNO
76. Ahmad Hassan (Never): Warisan
77. Ahmad Jazlan Yaakob (Never): UMNO
78. Ahmad Johnie Zawawi (Never): PBB
79. Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (Never): PAS
80. Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Never): UMNO
81. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Never): UMNO
82. Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman (Never): PAS
83. Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir (Never): PKR
84. Alexander Nanta Linggi (Never): PBB
85. Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (Never): DAP
86. Anyi Ngau (Never): Progressive Democratic Party (PDP)
87. Arthur Joseph Kurup (Never): PBRS
88. Awang Husaini Sahari (Never): PKR
89. Azalina Othman Said (Never): UMNO
90. Dr. Azman Ismail (Never): PKR
91. Bung Moktar Radin (Never)
You may know him as that dude who cursed in Dewan Rakyat – we like to call him The Bung – or just making a lot of noise in general, but at least Bung’s always stayed where he is – UMNO – and never really went anywhere…right?
92. Ahmad Maslan (Never): UMNO
93. Cha Kee Chin (Never): DAP
94.Chan Foong Hin (Never): DAP
95. Chan Ming Kai (Never): PKR
96. Chang Lih Kang (Never): PKR
97. Charles Santiago (Never): DAP
98. Che Abdullah Mat Nawi (Never): PAS
99. Che Alias Hamid (Never): PAS
100. Chong Chieng Jen (Never): DAP
101. Chow Kon Yeow (Never): DAP
102. Dr. Lee Boon Chye (Never): PKR
103. Eddin Syazlee Shith (Never): PPBM
104. Fadillah Yusof (Never): PBB
105. Fong Kui Lun (Never): DAP
106. Fuziah Salleh (Never): PKR
107. Gobind Singh Deo (Never): DAP
108. Abdul Hadi Awang (Never)
While Hadi technically first joined politics when he participated in Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), which was ironically once led by Anwar, his actual political career began with PAS in 1964. Since then, he made his way up the ranks rather quickly, where he’s now PAS president, and he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of hopping party anytime soon.
109. Haji Abdul Rahman Haji Mohamed (Never): UMNO
110. Annuar Musa (Never): UMNO
111. Haji Awang Hashim (Never): PAS
112. Haji Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Never): UMNO
113. Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Never): UMNO
114. Hanifah Hajar Taib (Never): PBB
115. Hannah Yeoh (Never): DAP
116. Hasan Arifin (Never): UMNO
117. Hasan Bahrom (Never): Amanah
118. Hasbi Habibollah (Never): PBB
119. Hasbullah Osman (Never): UMNO
120. Henry Sum Agong (Never): PBB
121. Hishammuddin Hussein (Never): UMNO
122. Idris Jusoh (Never): UMNO
123. Ismail Mohamed Said (Never): UMNO
124. Ismail Muttalib (Never): UMNO
125. Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Never): UMNO
126. Jalaludin Alias (Never): UMNO
127. Johari Abdul (Never): PKR
128. Karupaiya Muthusamy (Never): PKR
129. Kasthuriraani Patto (Never): DAP
130. Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (Never): DAP
131. Kesavan Subramaniam (Never): PKR
132. Khairy Jamaluddin (Never)
You would be glad to know that our nation’s very own ‘Tony Stark‘ has never wavered in his loyalty to UMNO ever since he joined UMNO as former PM’s Abdullah Badawi’s Special Officer in 1999. Even though there have been rumors of him switching over to PPBM, he had quickly brushed them off and remained steadfast with UMNO.
133. Khoo Poay Tiong (Never): DAP
134. M. Kulasegaran (Never): DAP
135. June Leow Hsiad Hui (Never): PKR
136. Lim Guan Eng (Never)
Given that LGE’s father is Lim Kit Siang, it probably comes to no surprise that he’ll follow his father’s footsteps as a politician and start it out in DAP. And since then, he’s stuck with DAP since, even once winning a historic general elections and getting to be Finance Minister, but of course, that stint was kinda short. Now, though, he’s once again become part of the opposition, still as a DAP representative.
137. Lim Kit Siang (Never): DAP
138. Lim Lip Eng (Never): DAP
139. Anthony Loke Siew Fook (Never): DAP
140. Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Never): PBB
141. Ma’mun Sulaiman (Never): Warisan
142. Mahdzir Khalid (Never): UMNO
143. Maria Chin (Never): PKR
144. Mastura Mohd Yazid (Never): UMNO
145. Michael Teo Yu Keng (Never): PKR
146. Mohamad Alamin (Never): UMNO
147. Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (Never): UMNO
148. Mohd Aziz Jamman (Never): Warisan
149. Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Never): UMNO
150. Mohd Salim Sharif (Never): UMNO
151. Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (Never): PAS
152. Najib Razak (Never)
In case y’all didn’t know – also, what? – Najib’s the son of Malaysia’s second PM Abdul Razak Hussein. And after his father’s death in the 1970s, he soon rose to prominence as a young UMNO politician. And he seemed to have had a decent future built ahead for him, where he ended up becoming Malaysia’s 6th PM, until he was embroiled in a series of scandals – y’all know what scandals. However, even with his legal troubles, Najib’s turned out to be one of most vocal voices in UMNO while the PH coalition was in charge, so much so that he’s given the nickname #Bossku.
153. Mohd Redzuan Mohd Yusof (Never): PPBM
154. Mohd Shahar Abdullah (Never): UMNO
155. Mordi Bimol (Never): DAP
156. Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Never): PKR
157. Nancy Shukri (Never): PBB
158. Natrah Ismail (Never): PKR
159. Nga Kor Ming (Never): DAP
160. Ngeh Koo Han (Never): DAP
161. Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Aziz (Never): PAS
162. Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (Never): PAS
163. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Never): PKR
164. Noh Omar (Never): UMNO
165. Noor Amin Ahmad (Never): PKR
166. Noorita Sual (Never): DAP
167. Noor Azrina Surip (Never): PKR
168. Noraini Ahmad (Never): UMNO
169. Nurul Izzah Anwar (Never): PKR
170. Ong Kian Ming (Never): DAP
171. Oscar Ling Chai Yew (Never): DAP
172. Pang Hok Liong (Never): DAP
173. Prabakaran Parameswaran (Never): Independent
174. Tony Pua (Never): DAP
175. Ramli Mohd Nor (Never): UMNO
176. Ramkarpal Singh (Never): DAP
177. Reezal Merican Naina Merican (Never): UMNO
178. Robert Lawson Chuat Vincent Entering (Never): PBB
179. Rohani Abdul Karim (Never): PBB
180. Rubiah Wang (Never): PBB
181. Rusnah Aluai (Never): PKR
182. Sabri Azit (Never): PAS
183. RSN Rayer (Never): DAP
184. Saravanan Murugan (Never): Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC)
185. Shaharizukirnain Abdul Kadir (Never): PAS
186. Shahidan Kassim (Never): UMNO
187. Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Never): UMNO
188. Shamsul Iskandar Md. Akin (Never): PKR
189. Steven Sim Chee Keong (Never): DAP
190. Sim Tze Tzin (Never): PKR
191. Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (Never): PAS
192. V. Sivakumar (Never): DAP
193. Sivarasa K. Rasiah (Never): PKR
194. Su Keong Siong (Never): DAP
195. Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (Never): PKR
196. Takiyuddin Hassan (Never): PAS
197. Tan Kok Wai (Never): DAP
198. Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji (Never): DAP
199. Teh Kok Lim (Never): DAP
200. Tengku Adnan Tengku mansor (Never): UMNO
201. Teo Nie Ching (Never): DAP
202. Teresa Kok (Never): DAP
203. Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (Never): PAS
204. Wilson Ugak Kumbong (Never): PRS
205. Vivian Wong Shir Yee (Never): DAP
206. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Never)
Yes, you guys, PKR is like a family dynasty now, what with Anwar, Nurul Izzah, and Wan Azizah at the helm of it. You see, when her husband was imprisoned in 1998, Wan Azizah took over the leadership of PKR and pretty much helped build it into what it is today, with the help of people like Azmin and her daughter, and she’s been there ever since.
207. Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (Never): PAS
208. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Never): PBB
209. Wee Jeck Seng (Never): MCA
210. Wee Ka Siong (Never): MCA
211. Wilfred Madius Tangau (Never): UPKO
212. William Leong Jee Keen (Never): PKR
213. Wong Ling Biu (Never): DAP
214. Wong Chen (Never): PKR
215. Wong Hon Wai (Never): DAP
216. Wong Kah Woh (Never): DAP
217. Wong Shu Qi (Never): DAP
218. Wong Tack (Never): DAP
219. Xavier Jayakumar (Never): PKR
220. Yeo Bee Yin (Never): DAP
221. Yusuf Abd Wahab (Never): PBB
222. Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Never): UMNO
The MPs who jumped parties are actually not that high
When you look at the overall numbers, it sure doesn’t seem like there’s that many MPs who’ve switched parties throughout their political careers. But the fact that there are already 27.5% of our MPs who have switched parties is kinda disconcerting. In fact, party-hopping has become so commonplace here that Malaysia’s even named as a place where it happens frequently on Wikipedia.
However, do note that we only talked about party-hopping here and not about switching political affiliations, like switching support from PH to PN, because that’s a whole other story all together.
But why is party-hopping such a big deal in the first place? Well, when MPs switch their loyalties so easily, it can mean many things, such as voters losing trust in their MPs or parties and just political instability in general. Plus, some have also claimed that party-hopping is against the constitution.
“If an elected representative decides to switch to a new party as he/she exercises the right to association, citizens should be allowed to automatically exercise their right to vote and choose a representative again.” – Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), as quoted from Malaymail
Now, we don’t really know for sure whether there will be more MPs switching parties again in the future. But for now, many politicians and activists alike are looking for ways to enact an anti-party-hopping law to prevent something like this from occurring again. Then again, talk of enacting a law like that has been going on for quite some time with nothing to show for it, so there’s no telling whether it will work this time around.
Before we end this article, given that we had to literally look at 222 MPs – the writer’s brain dead now – we might have missed out on a jump or two. If we did, please do let us know!