Malaysia faces hung parliament for first time in history after tight election race

Motorcycles pass campaign flags of Malaysia’s ruling National Front coalition and Pakatan Harapan displayed in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. (AP)

  • About 14.7 million Malaysian voters cast their ballots on Saturday
  • Barisan Nasional alliance led by long-ruling UMNO saw worst-ever election performance
An inconclusive general election in Malaysia has produced the country’s first ever hung parliament.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim secured the most seats, but his Pakatan Harapan alliance fell well short of a majority.
The ruling coalition, led by Ismail Sabri Yaakob, suffered its worst electoral defeat ever, winning just 30 of the 178 seats it ran for.

Veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad lost his seat, suffering his first defeat in 53 years.

At 97, Mr Mahathir has dominated Malaysian politics for decades, first serving as the country’s prime minister from 1981 to 2003, and he was credited for the country’s rapid economic transformation from the 1980s.
In a statement on Sunday, the palace said that “leaders of political parties and coalitions that have a large number of seats” must propose a new government and name a candidate for prime minister by Monday afternoon.

“His Majesty advises the people and leaders of political parties to respect the democratic process, and accept the results of the GE15 with a calm and open mind in order to maintain the integrity of the country,” the statement said.
Malaysian voters cast their ballots in the hope of ending a spate of political uncertainty in the country, which has seen three prime ministers since the previous election in 2018, amid uncertainties in the economy and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of Malaysia’s political old guard were wiped out in the election battle. These included former PM Mahathir Mohamad, who suffered his first election defeat in 53 years in a blow that signaled an end to his political influence and career.
The two biggest winners of Saturday’s elections were competing on Sunday to forge alliances needed to form a simple majority government, with both Anwar and Muhyiddin announcing that they have enough seats to do so.
James Chin, professor of Asian studies at the University of Tasmania, said he is expecting Perikatan Nasional to win the race and Muhyiddin to become Malaysia’s premier for the second time.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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