Hung Parliament in GE15, as both Pakatan and Perikatan in race to form govt

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (centre) and Pakatan leaders pose for the cameras during a press conference at Grand Dorsett Subang November 19, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

malaymail.com | KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Malaysia wakes up today to a hung Parliament even after the 15th general election (GE15) that saw encouraging voter turnout, with both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) claiming to possess the numbers to form a federal government.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) was initially in the driving seat after winning 73 seats, and was set to form the government with the same coalition that we have seen before: An alliance with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) — and its former ally Barisan Nasional (BN) that turned into a bitter rival during campaigning.

Malay Mail lists down the biggest winners and losers of GE15:

Winners:

1. PAS

The Islamist party not only more than doubled its haul from 2018, but also managed clean sweeps of Kelantan and Terengganu.

With its support formerly oscillating between BN and PN in the name of the unity of the ummah or the Malay-Muslim community, PAS has now found itself in the best position in its existence and will be expected to either demand or be rewarded with Cabinet posts.

Despite backlash from the public for his use of racial and religious cards during campaigning, and “red-tagging” PH with communist and pro-LGBT accusations, the tactics seemed to have worked out wonderfully in shifting support towards PN.

2. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

Those who thought that Muhyiddin had shot his own foot with the last-minute remark accusing Jews of “Christianising” the country, have been proven wrong as he did not lose his lustre with Pagoh voters after winning with a 10,007-vote majority.

The man who dubbed himself Abah or “daddy” during his last stint as prime minister, would now likely return to the post in less than 16 months.

In the Merdeka Center survey results published early this month, Muhyiddin commanded the highest approval rating among the top political leaders in the country at 46 per cent. This result has only vindicated the sentiment.

3. GPS

The Sarawak coalition continued its incredible run by instigating numerous flips from BN and also PH.

Ever touting itself as the kingmaker, GPS will now decide whether the cost of betraying its supporters by allying itself with PAS is worth being in the federal government.

There is still a possible chance that GPS may instead lend its support to PH. Any negotiations will happen in these next few days.

Losers:

1. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

The country’s longest-serving prime minister refused to ride into the sunset in his bid to rid the country of the top three coalitions, but was instead forced into a retirement that could not have come earlier.

He has been dealt the biggest blow in his political life in Langkawi being defeated by a PN candidate with a 13,518-vote majority. To add to the sting, he even lost his deposit after gaining a mere 4,566 votes, a plunge from his previous win of 18,954.

His son Mukhriz also lost his seat, and the Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) coalition he had formed with controversial parties playing with ethno-religious sentiments scored zero out of 125 seats contested.

2. Umno ‘moderates’

From Khairy Jamaluddin in Sungai Buloh to Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz in Kuala Selangor to Shahril Hamdan in Alor Gajah, those perceived as carrying the “moderate” torch in Umno have failed to escape the public backlash against the so-called “court cluster” within the party.

Even Khairy’s daring declaration that he was ready to become prime minister was met with ridicule, and accusations that he was angling for the Umno internal election rather than national polls.

With such a huge slap on Umno’s face, it remains to be seen whether this crop of leaders who have vowed to change the grand old party from within will mount a challenge against Zahid by calling for his resignation, or form their own political caucus.

3. The ‘Sheraton’ cartel

Barring Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah in Indera Mahkota, Larry Sng in Julau and some others, almost all who defected from PKR in the so-called “Sheraton Move” that would lead to the fall of the PH administration were downright rejected by voters.

In a heated fight for Gombak, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali was defeated by Selangor mentri besar Amirudin Shari. Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin was the fourth choice behind two fresh faces in Ampang, and lost her deposit as a result after a leadership tussle in Parti Bangsa Malaysia.

Yet despite all these, both may yet return to Cabinet should PN manage to form the government.

Malaysia faces hung parliament in tight election race

reuters.com | KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 – Malaysia was facing a hung parliament for the first time in its history as support for a conservative Islamic alliance prevented major coalitions from winning a simple majority in a general election.

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

Failure by the main parties to win a majority means a combination of them would have to build a majority alliance to form a government. Malaysia’s constitutional monarch may also get involved, as he has the power to appoint as Prime Minister a lawmaker whom he believes can command a majority.

Longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition won the most seats in Saturday’s general election, results from the Election Commission showed.

The biggest surprise came from former premier Muhyiddin Yassin who led his Perikatan Nasional bloc to a strong showing, pulling support from the incumbent government’s traditional strongholds.

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

Both Anwar and Muhyiddin claimed to have the support to form government, though they did not disclose which parties they had allied with.

Muhyiddin said he hoped to finish discussions by Sunday afternoon. His alliance is a junior partner in incumbent Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s ruling coalition and could work with them again.

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

If Anwar clinches the top job, it would cap a remarkable journey for a politician who, in 25 years, went from heir apparent, to the premiership, to a prisoner convicted of sodomy to the country’s leading opposition figure.

THE ELECTION NUMBERS

Malaysia has 222 parliamentary seats but polls were held only 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 got 30. One seat was unannounced as of 2100 GMT.

“The key takeaway from this election is that Perikatan has successfully disrupted the two party system,” said Adib Zalkapli, a director with political consultancy Bower Group Asia.

Barisan and Pakatan have long been Malaysia’s main blocs.

Barisan said it accepted the people’s decision, but stopped short of conceding defeat. The coalition said in a statement it remains committed to forming a stable government.

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

A record number of Malaysians voted on Saturday, hoping to end a spate of political uncertainty that has resulted in three prime ministers amidst uncertain economic times and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The political landscape has been rocky since Barisan lost the 2018 election after governing for 60 years from independence.

Anwar was released from prison in 2018 after joining with old foe Mahathir and Muhyiddin to defeat Barisan for the first time in Malaysia’s history, amid public anger at the government over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal.

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

Additional reporting by Angie Teo, Ebrahim Harris, Ha Minh Nguyen and Hasnoor Hussain; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Jan Harvey and Josie Kao

Pollsters predict Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan will win most seats in Malaysia election

A large number of seats are too close to call and could be decided by swing voters. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

straitstimes.com | 19-Nov-2022 – KUALA LUMPUR – Two major independent pollsters have projected that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will win the most seats in Malaysia’s general election on Saturday, while a substantial number of constituencies are too close to call.

On the eve of polling day, Merdeka Center said it predicted that the PH opposition pact would win 82 seats. Partners in the caretaker government Perikatan Nasional (PN) would come in second with 43 seats, and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) third with only 15 seats.

Ilham Centre, meanwhile, predicted that PH would gain 86 seats, BN 51 seats, and PN 25 seats.

The findings by both opinion research firms highlight the likelihood that none of the three coalitions will win a simple majority of 112 seats needed to form a federal government.

This would possibly result in a hung Parliament, adding to the economic uncertainty in the country.

According to Merdeka Center, there were 45 constituencies nationwide, representing about one-fifth of the 222-seat Parliament, that were too close to call and could swing to either one of the three coalitions.

“We note that the tight contest in this election has meant that the competition in many seats will be very close among the competing parties,” the pollster said in a statement on Friday.
From the rolling survey it undertook between Nov 3 and Nov 18, Merdeka Center said it found that the three main coalitions with a strong base of support still needed to swing undecided and new voters to their side.

“In the ensuing campaign period, we noted that there was a discernible movement of Malay voters to PN, and to a lesser extent, PH. This development was at the expense of BN,” it said, adding that non-Malay voters remained firmly in support of PH.

In a separate survey by Ilham Centre, its executive director Hisommudin Bakar said BN is still the top pick among Malay voters, particularly in rural Malay areas, while PH continued to draw support from non-Malay voters.

“The sentiment of urban voters, especially the non-Malay group, still remains with PH. It is difficult for this group to change their support to other parties due to very limited options. Meanwhile, rural Malay voters are still divided and hard for PH to sway, especially with PN increasingly breaking up BN’s permanent vote bank,” he said.

Mr Hissomudin said the survey also found that there were 26 seats too close to call, saying that all coalitions have an evenly split chance at winning. These seats could well be the decider, he said.

“And in these seats, the kingmakers would be the undecided voters who could easily swing either way. These voters could decide only until the very last minute before their votes are cast, making these seats hard to predict,” he said.

Spectators at the last leg of campaigning of Pakatan Harapan (PH) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Tambun, Perak, on Nov 18, 2022. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The undecideds include first-time voters, who total seven million or 33 per cent of the electorate, he said.

Classifying them as “wild voters”, Mr Hissomudin said its research found that the group has yet to make a decision on who to vote for.

“We found that young rural voters tend to follow the political lines of family and parents. For young urban voters, despite being influenced by their family’s choices, they stick with their own choices. However, the majority of them have not yet made a decision,” he said.

Pakatan in the lead with 82 seats, Merdeka Center poll finds

A supporter holds up a Pakatan Harapan mascot during at a rally in Kuala Lumpur. Independent pollster Merdeka Center projects that PH will emerge tops when the 15th general election concludes with 82 seats. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 18, 2022.

themalaysianinsight.com | 18-Nov-2022 – INDEPENDENT pollster Merdeka Center has projected that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will emerge tops when the 15th general election concludes with 82 seats while Perikatan Nasional (PN) will come in second with 43 seats.

It predicted that the country’s oldest coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) will end the polls with 15 only seats.

However, it noted in its findings that there were 45 constituencies nationwide that were too close to call and could go to either one of the three coalitions.

“We note that the tight contest in this election has meant that the competition in many seats will be very close among the competing parties,” it said in a statement released tonight.

It projected that Gabungan Parti Sarawak will win 24 seats, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (5), and Warisan (6).

“From the rolling survey that we undertook from November 3 to 18, we found that the three main coalitions with a strong base of support still needed to swing undecided and new voters to their side.

“In the ensuing campaign period, we noted that there was a discernible movement of Malay voters to PN and to a lesser extent, PH. This development was at the expense of BN,” it said in a statement..

Merdeka Center said that for the most part, non-Malay voters remained firmly in support of PH.

Earlier today another reputed pollster, Ilham Centre, had predicted that none of the three coalitions will win 112 seats in the country’s 15th general election and form a federal government.

Its executive director Hisommudin Bakar said its survey showed that PH will be the biggest bloc with 86 seats in the 222-seat chamber, if there was an 80% voter turnout tomorrow.

He said BN would cross the finish line with 51 seats while PN would bag 25 seats.

Hisommudin said its survey found that BN was still the top choice for Malay voters, particularly in rural Malay while PH continued to draw support from non-Malay voters. – November 18, 2022.

Merdeka Center: BN set for only 15 seats against Perikatan’s 43, with 26 too close to call

Election Commission (EC) officer Anis Nadia Arshad making preparations for polling day in conjunction with the 15th General Election tomorrow at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Serai, November 18, 2022. — Bernama pic

malaymail.com | KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — In a slap to the once impregnable Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition which had been the ruling administration since independence prior to their defeat in the 14th general elections, Merdeka Center for Opinion Research’s latest projections puts the Umno-led coalition at just 15 seats it could safely secure in tomorrow’s 15th general election.

The research outfit saw Perikatan Nasional coming in second at 43 seats, half of Pakatan Harapan’s projected outcome at 82 seats.

In East Malaysia, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition could bag 24 seats, while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) would win just five seats or one less than Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan.

The pollster had put 26 seats as too close to call.

“We note that the tight contest in this election has meant that the competition in many seats will be very close among the competing parties.

“In the ensuing campaign period, we noted that there was a discernible movement of Malay voters to PN and to a lesser extent, PH. This development was at the expense of BN,” it said, noting that seats considered too-close-to-call were those with vote margins of less than five per cent.

In a breakdown, it projected that BN could only manage to safely secure one seat in Kelantan and Negri Sembilan; three in Pahang, six in Johor and four in Sabah.

Accordingly, the research outfit said the overall projections also affirmed non-Malay voters’ support of PH.

A poll was also conducted with 5,497 respondents sampled nationwide to seek their views on the upcoming election, leaders and political parties between November 3 to November 18.

It noted that respondents were selected based on random stratified sampling along age group, ethnicity, gender and state.

In the poll findings, voters’ principal concerns remained focused on inflation and cost of living at 28 per cent, economic growth at 18 per cent and corruption at 13 per cent.

Following the implementation of the automatic voter registration and Undi18, the findings also revealed younger voters displaying a higher-than-average concern about the economy and employment issues at five per cent compared to the two per cent of the national average.

With all major coalitions having announced their prime minister candidate, the poll also found that voters’ preferences remained generally stable with PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at 33 per cent of all voters, followed by PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin at 26 per cent and BN chairman Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri at 17 per cent.

However, the finding also noted there was a significant difference across ethnic groups, with Muhyiddin coming out top at 39 per cent followed by Ismail Sabri at 24 per cent and Anwar at 16 per cent among Malay voters.

More significantly, Anwar was the preferred PM candidate amongst non-Malay voters, with 57.8 per cent and 62.6 per cent among Chinese and Indians respectively.

“These findings show a marked decline in overt preference for BN among Malay voters and an increase in support for PN while PH continues to draw strong support from Chinese and Indian voters as well as a stable level of Malay voters,” the centre said.

Factbox: Malaysia’s prime minister candidates in upcoming poll

A motorcyclist rides past the party flags and banners during the campaign period of Malaysia’s general election in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia November 6, 2022. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain

Reuters | KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11  – Malaysia will go to the polls on Nov. 19th in what is set to be a highly competitive race between three major coalitions led by incumbent Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin.

No single coalition is expected to win a simple majority in parliament, which is needed to form a government, as the votes are set to be split more than ever before among the three blocs and numerous other smaller parties.

Here are the candidates vying for the top job:

ISMAIL SABRI YAAKOB, 62

Incumbent Ismail is the prime ministerial candidate for the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has won all but one election in Malaysia’s history.

He only served as premier for 14 months, before a power struggle forced him to call for early polls.

Ismail faces the difficult task of convincing Malaysians to vote for Barisan despite corruption charges against some of its leaders.

Former Barisan leader and ex-premier Najib Razak is in jail for the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB graft scandal, which cost the coalition the election in 2018.

Ismail is part of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) political party, which leads Barisan and prioritises interests of the dominant ethnic-Malay community in multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority Malaysia.

survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center last month showed that Barisan lags behind Anwar’s coalition in voter preference, though Ismail is more popular than Anwar.

ANWAR IBRAHIM, 75

Anwar leads the Pakatan Harapan alliance, a multi-ethnic coalition that ousted Barisan from power in 2018.

Anwar’s coalition is the most favoured by voters at 26%, although nearly 31% were yet to decide who to vote for, the Merdeka Center poll showed.

Anwar has eyed the premiership for more than two decades since he served in Mahathir Mohamad’s government in the 1990s as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

But the two fell out, with Anwar leading massive protests against Mahathir and calling for reforms.

The two buried the hatchet in 2018 and came together to defeat Barisan. But their alliance collapsed less than two years later due to infighting over Mahathir’s promise to hand over power to Anwar, returning Barisan to power as part of another coalition.

Anwar has spent around a decade in jail on what he says were politically motivated sodomy and corruption charges.

MUHYIDDIN YASSIN, 75

The former prime minister leads the Perikatan Nasional bloc, which has emerged as a third force in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin is winning crucial support from the majority Malays, and taking away some voters from Barisan, analysts say.

His coalition prioritises Malay interests and includes the Islamist party PAS, which has touted rolling out sharia or Islamic law.

He was a crucial player in the collapse of the Pakatan administration in 2020, leading a group of defectors to form another government at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muhyiddin, who underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2018, has also served as deputy prime minister before.

AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI, 69

While Ismail is the official prime ministerial candidate for Barisan, there is intense speculation that Zahid – who leads the coalition – may try to go for the job if his alliance wins.

Zahid, a former deputy prime minister, has denied the rumours.

Zahid is more senior to Ismail in the coalition, which is plagued by infighting.

Earlier this month, Zahid purged the coalition of some long-time members who were aligned with Ismail and dropped them as candidates for the election.

He is on trial for graft, and has pleaded not guilty.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

PN the ‘wildcard’ in GE15, says research centre

According to Merdeka Center, Perikatan Nasional is projected to gain swing votes from the Malay electorate.

freemalaysiatoday | 11-Nov-2022 – PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional (PN) is the “wildcard” in the general election (GE15) as the coalition is projected to gain swing votes from the Malay electorate, according to a public opinion research centre.

Merdeka Center programmes director Ibrahim Suffian said if Malay support for PN continued to grow, it could eclipse Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) in overall shares of parliamentary seats.

“The real winner of the increasing support for PN would be PAS. PAS is likely to sweep all the seats that are made up of at least 70% to 80% Malay voters,” he said during a webinar titled “Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: Players, Issues and Possible Outcomes”.

Ibrahim said a survey conducted by Merdeka Center, which will be released soon, indicated social media sentiment showing a growing preference by Malay voters towards PN.

“If PN is able to gain more than 50% of the Malay vote in the general election, the outcome will be fatal to BN,” he said, adding that this would see PAS replacing Umno as the party with the strongest support in Malay heartlands.

He said voter sentiment reflected the perception that PN was a much “cleaner and uncorrupted” alternative to BN which championed the rights and interests of Malays.

“The predominant view among Malays is that (PN chairman) Muhyiddin Yassin paid the price for speaking out against Najib Razak on 1MDB,” he said. “He (Muhyiddin) is seen as an untainted leader.”

Ibrahim added that there was even tacit approval of Muhyiddin’s actions in February 2020, which led to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government after 22 months in power and the rise of the PN administration led by Muhyiddin himself.

PN is contesting 169 parliamentary seats and 116 state seats in Perak, Perlis and Pahang. The coalition consists of Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan in the peninsula.

Three possible scenarios post-GE15

Ibrahim said there were three possible scenarios after polling day on Nov 19.

In the first, he said, PN would likely attempt to form a government with BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), and other parties in Sabah.

In the second scenario, Ibrahim said PH could attempt to strike up a post-election coalition with parties in Sabah or even with BN and GPS to obtain a simple majority to form a government.

In the final scenario, BN could win convincingly and team up with GPS and PAS to form a government. However, Ibrahim said this was the unlikeliest of the three scenarios to occur.

Merdeka Center