Muhyiddin, Anwar Both Claim Right To Form Malaysian Government
National Alliance coalition leader Muhyiddin Yassin and perennial leadership challenger Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the Hope Pact, both claimed they could form a government early Sunday after Malaysia's general election, Nikkei Asia reported.
Photo Insert: Muhyiddin’s alliance was an underdog that enjoyed an unexpected surge of votes with 73 out of 222 parliamentary seats.
As of 4:30 a.m. local time, Anwar's Hope Pact had 82 of the 222 seats, Muhyiddin's National Alliance had 73, and the long-ruling UNMO-led National Front had 30. One seat was yet to be declared.
Hours later, Eileen Ng of Associated Press (AP) reported that Malaysia’s next government appeared to be leaning to the religious right as a coalition of Malay nationalists won support of an influential bloc on Sunday after tightly fought general elections failed to produce a clear winner. The nation’s king still has to approve any deal.
The unprecedented hung parliament after Saturday’s divisive polls saw the rise of the Malay-centric Perikatan Nasional, or National Alliance, led by former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. It stunned many Malaysians who had hoped for stability and unity after political turmoil that has seen three prime ministers since 2018 polls.
Muhyiddin’s alliance was an underdog that enjoyed an unexpected surge of votes with 73 out of 222 parliamentary seats. Its hard-line ally is the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, the biggest winner with a haul of 49 seats — more than double what it won in 2018.
Known as PAS, it touts Sharia, rules three states and is now the single largest party. Its rise has stoked fears of greater Islamization in the country.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s reformist multiethnic alliance topped the race with 82 federal seats, but fell far short of the 112 needed for a majority. In negotiations Sunday, Muhyiddin’s coalition edged closer to a victory after securing the backing of a political bloc in Sarawak, a state on Borneo island, that won 22 seats.
He still needs a nod from another key player, the long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), to muster a majority.
The arrangement, if confirmed by the king, means that Muhyiddin will return as prime minister.
UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he hasn’t held any talks with Muhyiddin on the formation of a government. He said candidates from his National Front alliance have signed a pledge to give him the mandate to decide on any political cooperation.