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Malaysia on the verge of having a suspended parliament for the first time in its history | Malaysia


Malaysia faced a suspended parliament for the first time in its history as support for a conservative Islamic alliance prevented major coalitions from winning a simple majority in general elections.

Without a clear winner, political uncertainty could persist as Malaysia faces slowing economic growth and rising inflation. He had three prime ministers in as many years.

The failure of one of the major parties to secure a majority means that a combination of them would have to build a majority alliance to form a government. Malaysia’s constitutional monarch could also be implicated, as he has the power to appoint a lawmaker as prime minister who he believes can command a majority.

Longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition won the most seats in Saturday’s general election, according to election commission results.

The biggest surprise came from former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who led his Perikatan Nasional bloc to a strong performance, drawing support from traditional incumbent government strongholds.

Muhyiddin’s alliance includes a conservative Malaysian party and an Islamist party that has touted Sharia or Islamic law. Race and religion are divisive issues in Malaysia, where the ethnic Malay Muslim population constitutes the majority and the ethnic Chinese and Indians the minorities.

Anwar and Muhyiddin said they had the support to form a government, although they did not reveal which parties they had allied with.

Muhyiddin said he hoped to complete the talks by Sunday afternoon. His alliance is a junior partner in the ruling coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and could work with them again.

Anwar said he would submit a letter to King Al-Sultan Abdullah detailing his support.

If Anwar lands the top job, it would cap a remarkable run for a politician who, in 25 years, has risen from Deputy Prime Minister and expected successor, to prisoner convicted of sodomy, to leading figure in the opposition from the country.

Malaysia has 222 parliamentary seats, but elections were only held for 220 on Saturday.

The election commission said Anwar’s multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan coalition won a total of 82 seats, while Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional alliance won 73 seats. Ismail’s Barisan coalition secured 30. A seat was not announced as of 21:00 GMT.

“The main lesson to be learned from this election is that Perikatan succeeded in disrupting the two-party system,” said Adib Zalkapli, director of political consultancy Bower Group Asia. Barisan and Pakatan have long been Malaysia’s main blocs.

Barisan said he accepted the decision of the people, but refrained from conceding defeat. The coalition said in a statement that it remained committed to forming a stable government.

Veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad, meanwhile, suffered his first electoral defeat in 53 years, a blow that could spell the end of a seven-decade political career, losing his seat to Muhyiddin’s alliance.

A record number of Malaysians cast their ballots on Saturday, hoping to end a period of political uncertainty that has resulted in three prime ministers amid economic uncertainty and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The political landscape has been difficult since Barisan lost the 2018 elections after ruling for 60 years since independence.

Anwar was released from prison in 2018 after joining old foes Mahathir and Muhyiddin in defeating Barisan for the first time in Malaysian history, amid public anger at the government over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal. of dollars.

This coalition collapsed after 22 months in power due to infighting over a promise by Mahathir to hand over the prime ministership to Anwar. Muhyiddin briefly became prime minister, but his administration crumbled last year, paving the way for Barisan’s return to power with Ismail at the helm.

theguardian

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