An accused prime minister of embezzling hundreds of millions. The national patriarch is stepping out of retirement in order to be thrown out by him in historic elections. Infighting within the new government, forcing the patriarch’s resignation. In less than two years, there have been two new prime ministers.
According to the government’s promise, political turmoil in Malaysia would be resolved by Saturday’s elections. In search of a way to increase its control over power, the government pushed back national elections by one year. They also appealed to voters to bring about a new era in stability by giving them a renewed mandate.
However, the gamble didn’t work out. The incumbent coalition was able to win far fewer seats than the two rivals. Now Malaysia is in the middle of the first hung. Parliament Its history and political uncertainty has only increased.
“The whole thing is a complete mess,” James Chin, an expert on Asian studies and a professor at the University of Tasmania, said: Malaysian politics.
Pakatan Harapan (a reform-minded multiethnic alliance of opposition) was in the lead with 82 votes. Perikatan Nasional (a far-right nationalist coalition) won 73 seats, which was a surprise to pundits. (A pair of East Malaysian Coalitions won 28 of the remaining 35 seats.
A coalition needs 112 seats — a simple majority — to form a government. They can’t do it all on their own. Pakatan Harapan’s leader, Anwar IbrahimIt has said his group has enough support from other coalitions to get there But he didn’t say who he was teaming with. Muhyiddin YassinFormer prime minister and Perikatan Nasional chief executive officer, he said that his group was open to receiving him any party that was ready to embrace its “principles.”
Now, the coalition leaders need to convince Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah that they have the best way forward. Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchyThe king must also swear in the next prime Minister.
Experts believe that a government could be formed by Sunday’s end. According to a statement the palace told Party leaders had until Monday afternoon for clarifications on how they wanted to align themselves with other parties and who they preferred as prime minister.
This election will be: “the role of the monarch is crucial,” Aira Azhari is an analyst at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs. Malaysian Think tank. “Representatives from all these coalitions are going to go to him and say ‘We have the numbers’ — and he will have to say, ‘OK, prove it.’”
If Pakatan Harapan, (whose name means “Alliance of Hope”If ) is able form the next government, it will mark a return for Mr. Anwar. He was a former deputy prime Minister who claims he has been in prison twice because of politically motivated prosecutions.
Political analysts were most impressed by the strong performance of Perikatan Naional (National Alliance). The coalition is conservativer than Barisan Nasional’s (National Front), and includes an Islamist political group that took home more than 40 votes on Saturday. The party’s emergence as a major power broker, experts said, indicated the electorate has become more polarized and that many voters, including some young first-time voters, have moved to the right.
PAS, an Islamist party, has called for theocratic Islamic government in Malaysia in the past. It was small at first, but it has evolved to become a national force through alliances with other parties.
Despite the uncertainty, it was clear that voters had once again rejected United National Malay Organization. This party is the leader of the current coalition of Barisan Nasional. Before Saturday, UMNO’s only other loss had been in 2018.
From 1957 when Malaysia gained independence from Britain, UMNO was the party’s leader. It was then that Malaysian voters removed it from power in 2018. The party’s former leader, Najib Razak, who was prime minister for almost a decade, is now serving a 12-year sentence in prison for crimes connected to the looting of $4.5 billion from a government fund.
In the four years since Mr. Najib was voted out of office in 2018, there has been rapid turnover at the prime minister’s office. Mahathir Mohamad was a nonagenarian, who previously served as prime minster for more than 20 years. The king appointed Mr. Muhyiddin prime minister after his government collapsed. However, he was forced to resign due to his poor handling of the coronavirus epidemic. The incumbent prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob (an ally to Mr. Najib who is also a member of UMNO), was then able to take office.
Saturday’s contest was the first time that Malaysians between the ages of 18 and 20 could vote, after the government lowered the minimum voting age in 2019. The automatic voter registration was also created by the change. These steps combined added more than 5 million new voters to the rollsMake about 21 million Malaysians can cast their votes in general.
According to the election commission, as of 4 p.m. SaturdayA record 14 million voters turned out to vote in the election of November 6, 2012.
Interviews revealed that young voters were concerned about the economy and corruption in government. Most voters said they would vote to elect candidates who were part of Pakatan Harapan. They identified this as the coalition fighting for change and racial equality.
“I understand why some people are really apathetic,” Seth Naidu (22-year-old recruiter) cast his vote for Pakatan Harapan. “But then it falls onto us, people of the new generation, people who are first-time voters, to do something about it.”
One of the changes that voters made was Mr. Mahathir (97), who was a leader of UMNO for many decades before switching to opposition to defeat Mr. Najib. His autocratic streak was well known as he turned Malaysia from an agrarian country into a modern economy. He was currently running again for his parliamentary seat.
He was able to do this for the first time. lost re-election.
“We saw the forced retirement of Mahathir,” Professor Chin said of Saturday’s results. “People just want him and his brand of politics to disappear.”
Mr. Mahathir’s administration had successfully filed charges against Mr. Najib, but UNMO remains enmeshed in claims of graft. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is the current party president. recently cleared of some — but not all — of his own corruption charges. Some experts speculated that Mr. Najib or Mr. Zahid would win the election and have their legal problems behind them.
Some voters couldn’t ignore the scandals.
Sherilyn Ooi Sue Ying, 32-year-old product manager who voted in Berlin earlier this year, stated that she was not attracted to any of the candidates or political parties. She said she voted for Pakatanharapan. “because I think there’s just too much corruption on the other side.”
“Our country could do so much better,” She said: “if we had just a clean government.”
Liani MK contributed reporting in Penang, Malaysia.