KUALA LUMPUR, 29 July – Malaysia’s parliament (Dewan Rakyat) voted unanimously to pass the anti-hopping law bill yesterday, after debates that involved 54 members and a second reading tabled by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Under the new bill, members of parliament will lose their seats if they choose to join another party, if an independent member decided to join a party or a coalition after being elected, or if a member is sacked by their party and joins another party.
According to the bill, the only exception will be given to members of parliament who are sacked by their party or if the political party is dissolved or deregistered.
An MP who is elected as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker will also be exempted from the law.
Bills need at least a two-thirds majority of the votes of 148 members of the house to be passed, as the current bill amends Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.
Following the historic voting, Malaysian Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar expressed his thanks to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri for his commitment to the law to prevent party hopping in the political scene.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the legal affairs department, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and especially to the parliamentary select committee.
“While I agree with MPs that the bill is not perfect, it is a first step (in the right direction),” he said.
Anti-hopping law was one of the main pillars of the political agreement signed between Ismail Sabri’s governing coalition and the opposition led by the Pakatan Harapan Alliance. Signed last September, the “MOU” marked the beginning of a political cease-fire between the government and opposition to help the country recover from the pandemic and heal the economy.
Malaysia is waiting for the upcoming general elections that may change the political scene drastically, especially with the new anti-hopping law which means voters will not have any more concerns about representatives hopping parties after being voted in.