KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Today, the government and leaders from the Opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) will meet to finalise the Anti-Party Hopping Bill that is hoped to be tabled in Parliament on April 11.

The calls for such a law to regulate the movement of elected representatives have grown louder in recent months, especially as Malaysian politics went through a roller-coaster ride since the Barisan Nasional (BN) was replaced by PH in May 2018.

Two changes in governments. PH has now included the law as part of a deal with the current government led by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob — which many observers see may stave off Malaysian voters’ apathy and loss in trust in democracy which has resulted in lower and lower voter turnouts in recent snap elections.




Since 2018, over 40 MPs have swapped parties, terminated from party, or gone independent, even switching their allegiances from supporting the Opposition to the Government.

This makes it almost 20 per cent, or one-fifth, of the total 222 MPs.


This also included MPs who left their parties to form a splinter party, such as Parti Pejuang Tanah Air which was formed by former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders, and new parties such as Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) and Parti Bangsa Malaysia.

In addition, the rise of the ultimately short-lived PH government and the historic loss of BN have also seen new coalitions such as Perikatan Nasional (PN) that currently includes Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan, and also the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

Over the course of roughly four years, MPs have actively moved between sides through the different administrations of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri, resulting in a complex series of inter-party movements as illustrated in the chart below.



Before and after ‘Sheraton Move’

In the year after PH took power in Putrajaya, 15 Umno MPs had joined Bersatu — itself a splinter party of Umno — to be part the then government. Another Umno MP, Yameni Hafez Musa (Sipitang), would also do the same at the end of 2019.

PKR also saw two entries from independent MPs, Larry Sng (Julau) and Jugah Muyang (Lubok Antu), who both used to be in Parti Rakyat Sarawak prior to the general election.

Sng would later leave PKR to form Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) last year, and Jugah has also reverted to a independent, now supporting PN.



February 2020 saw the shock resignation of Dr Mahathir due to the so-called “Sheraton Move”, which would see his own party Bersatu form the PN government with former rivals Umno and PAS.

Following this, 21 Bersatu MPs became part of the PN government. The remaining five turned independent, with four of them later forming Pejuang in August 2020.

Eleven PKR MPs also turned independent. They would later join Bersatu.

The long period of pandemic which started weeks after Muhyiddin was sworn in as the prime minister, ultimately led to the fall of his administration after cases spike following the Sabah state election in September 2020.

He later resigned in August 2021, replaced with Ismail Sabri who has formed a memorandum of agreement with PH in order to solidify his position in the Dewan Rakyat and prevent yet another government change.



Both sacked from Bersatu in May 2020, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar) would form his own party Muda at the end of that year while Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam) joined PKR in January 2021 after remaining as an independent for nearly a year.

Most recently, Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali (Kuala Nerus) was sacked from Islamist party PAS, and he became an independent supporting PN.

Just yesterday, Datuk Masir Kujat (Sri Aman) left Parti Sarawak Bersatu to become a pro-government independent. Masir had just joined that party in March 2019, and was formerly in Parti Rakyat Sarawak under BN.

Suffice to say, how the Dewan Rakyat looks now is very much different from how it was just after the 14th general election, as illustrated in the chart below.



Putrajaya will now attempt to amend the Federal Constitution through a Bill that would outlaw party-hopping and also limit the tenure of a prime minister.

However, the government had decided to postpone the amendment to April 11 from its initial deadline after the last sitting ended on March 24.

In a statement on March 18, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the decision was made after the Cabinet determined that more input was needed from stakeholders, “particularly” from the government side.

He added that this was to guarantee the Bill garners the adequate two-thirds majority support needed to amend the Federal Constitution, once it is tabled in Parliament.

Previously, PH said it was ready to take to the streets if the anti-party hopping Bill was not tabled and passed within this Parliament sitting.