KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — The government assured that the constitutional amendment that prohibits lawmakers from defecting from their respective political parties will be enforced before the next general election (GE15).

Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, however, did not specify the timeline of the Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Act 2022 that was unanimously approved at the end of July and received royal assent on August 31.

“It will happen before [GE15]. Just bear with me and I will appear before [the media] soon and explain further then,” he told reporters during a press conference at Parliament here.

The law also was approved in a special sitting of the Dewan Negara on August 9.

Informally named the anti-party hopping law, the amendment was mooted as a bipartisan response to the so-called “Sheraton Move” of 2020, when political defections caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

The collapse led to Perikatan Nasional coming to power unelected before the coalition was forced to yield last year to the Barisan Nasional that was voted out in the 14th general election.

The law was also part of the memorandum of understanding signed between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the PH coalition.

Specifically, it is an amendment of the Federal Constitution, which includes the addition of Article 49A (pertaining to members of parliament) and a change to the Eighth Schedule (pertaining to state assemblymen).

The new amendments will cause MPs and state assemblymen to lose their seats if they switch parties, or join one after being elected as an independent.

There are three exceptions, however, namely the dissolution or cancellation of the registration of the politician’s party; the expulsion of the politician from his party; or the politician resigning from his party upon becoming Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat or his respective state assembly.