(Updated)

Anti-Party-Hopping Bill passed by Dewan Rakyat with more than two-thirds majority

Anti-Party-Hopping Bill passed by Dewan Rakyat with more than two-thirds majority
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 28): The Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (July 28) passed the proposed anti-party-hopping law, with more than a two-thirds majority.

The bloc voting, initiated by Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun, saw all 209 MPs present voting in support of the Bill, following the second and third readings. Eleven MPs were absent during the vote.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday (July 27) tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022 and the Provision for the Prohibition of Members of Parliament (MPs), which penalises party-hopping elected representatives, for first reading.

The Bera MP said the government takes seriously the act of changing parties or "party-hopping", "defection", or "floor crossing", which have caused a lot of debate and polemics among the general public.

Ismail Sabri added that four new paragraphs and six clauses were included in the amendment to the Constitution related to the ban on party-hopping.

Among the eight main parameters in the drafting of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022 related to the ban on MPs changing parties is that any MP who leaves one political party and joins another party in the same coalition, or a party within a different coalition, will cease to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat.

Additionally, any MP who switches parties or leaves the party for which he was a candidate during the election to become an independent, will cease to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat and will have to vacate the seat.

However, Ismail Sabri said there are exceptions to the rule, such as if the MP is dismissed from membership in a political party, elected as Dewan Rakyat speaker, or if the MP's political party was dissolved or deregistered.

The Bill was tabled for first reading on April 11, 2022, by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is Santubong MP and also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law).

Azhar on Thursday noted the law was passed after the required two-thirds majority was secured by the government to make the necessary constitutional amendments.

“Congratulations to all MPs who have created history today,” said Azhar when reading the result of the vote tally.

Wan Junaidi, during the third reading of the Bill, informed the august house that the act to amend the Federal Constitution was considered and agreed without amendment.

Earlier, when winding up the Bill, Wan Junaidi thanked 54 MPs who participated in the two-day debate session.

According to him, all the MPs present were here for the same reason, which was their duty to uphold the trust of the people through the parliamentary democratic system.

“I also agree with all fellow MPs who said that this Bill is not a 100% solution to all our problems but is the first step,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference afterwards, Wan Junaidi said the Bill will be presented to the Dewan Negara for first reading on Aug 9 this year, which is in line with the ministry’s timeline for the Bill to come into effect in the first week of September this year.

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Lam Jian Wyn & Tan Choe Choe