Malaysia's opposition alliance collapses amid clash over Islamic criminal laws

Malaysia's three-party opposition alliance, once touted as an alternative to the country's long-ruling coalition, has collapsed over policy differences.

The People's Alliance, led by jailed former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, made strong gains since 2008 polls and won the popular vote in 2013. However, a push by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party to enforce Islamic Shariah laws sparked protests from its alliance ally, the Democratic Action Party.

The breakup benefits Prime Minister Najib Razak's coalition, which has been struggling to win back votes.

It came after a new conservative leadership in the Islamic party voted to sever ties with the Democratic Action Party. The DAP declared the death of the opposition pact on Tuesday, while Anwar's People's Justice Party said Wednesday the alliance "no longer functions formally."