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Malaysia passes party-hopping ban with election on horizon

Law aims to discourage defections by legislators, but expert sees loophole

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob: Lawmakers have given an anti-party hopping law bipartisan backing after years of political turmoil.   © AFP/Jiji

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's parliament has approved a constitutional amendment that would put a stop to lawmakers hopping between parties while in office, as the country aims to reduce the political uncertainty that has plagued it since the 2018 election.

The 222-member lower house on Thursday approved the bill by a two-thirds majority, as required for constitutional changes. Opposition parties also supported the legislation as part of a stability pact they signed with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's government last year. That deal is due to end this weekend.

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