Merdeka Center: Perikatan becoming GE15 dark horse, benefitting PAS

malaymail.com | KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Islamist party PAS is poised to gain from Perikatan Nasional’s resurgence in the 15th general election campaign in which the coalition was previously considered a non-starter, based on Merdeka Center’s analysis.

According to the Free Malaysia Today portal, Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian said there could be a swing in Malay votes towards PN, which would allow it to leapfrog Barisan Nasional.

However, Merdeka Center released the results of a pre-election poll last week that showed the coalition to have an approval rating of just 31 per cent, far below the level that saw it voted out for the first time in 2018.

Today, Ibrahim said there was a prevailing view among Malays that PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had been punished for opposing then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the 1MDB scandal in 2015.

Najib was imprisoned in October after losing his final appeal against his conviction of all seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 million from a former 1MDB subsidiary.

“If PN is able to gain more than 50 per cent of the Malay vote in the general election, the outcome will be fatal to BN,” Ibrahim said.

A hung parliament is favourable to a stable coalition

malaysianinsight.com | 06-Nov-2022 – LIKE what the recent survey conducted by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research revealed, it would be difficult for any political coalition to win enough votes in the coming general election to secure enough numbers to form a federal government.

Malaysia practises the first-past-the-post electoral system, where the majority (even if the difference is by only one vote) forms a government. Thus, the prime minister will be chosen from the winning party.

However, if there is no majority achieved to form a government, the likelihood of a “hung parliament” taking place is there. A hung parliament simply means a parliament in which no political party has enough seats to secure an overall majority.

It is often perceived that it would be difficult for parliamentarians to find common ground to work together, but this is not always true. The result of a hung parliament could spur the different parties to come together.

The passage of the anti-party-hopping law was the outcome of a hung parliament. The law, which was tabled, passed by more than two-thirds of the House and is now in force, shows the possibility of a functioning government that finds common ground in working together.

Reference can also be taken from the United Kingdom where it was not common for the country’s election to result in a hung parliament. The UK went through a hung parliament in 1974. And once again faced such a scenario in the years 2010 and 2017. Even as such, the UK has been a functioning government. Reference could also be made to New Zealand, where decisions and legislation passed pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic were for the country’s best interest.

Thus, a huyng parliament is not so bad after all, provided there is transparency in working together, to find common interest for the betterment of the country. – November 6, 2022.

* Matilda George reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Inflation dents Ismail Sabri’s popularity in poll ahead of election

theedgemarkets.com | 05-Nov-2022 – Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s approval rating dropped after he called for snap elections, suggesting increasingly unhappy voters want the government to focus on rising cost of living instead.

His rating fell to 42% in October from 46% in September in a survey by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, with almost three-quarters of the 1,209 respondents citing inflation as their main economic concern.

Ismail Sabri, who was in office for 14 months until he dissolved Parliament on Oct 10, is now voters’ second choice to lead the country. He is behind his predecessor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of the Perikatan Nasional coalition, according to the survey carried out from Oct 19-28.

While Malaysia has rebounded swiftly from the pandemic under Ismail Sabri, logging a near 9% GDP growth in the April-June period, the nation is struggling with high cost of living and a currency that’s at a multi-decade low versus the US dollar. The political uncertainty arising from this month’s election has heightened the “negative sentiments” for the federal government, with 60% of the respondents reporting dissatisfaction, the survey findings showed.

The national vote isn’t due until September 2023, but Ismail Sabri’s party, Umno, wanted it early to capitalise on local election victories as well as what they saw as an opposition in disarray. Umno clawed back into power after the collapse of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government but has led a very fragile coalition since.

Even so, voting inclination toward the Barisan Nasional coalition that Umno leads fell to 24% from 27% in September, the survey showed. Muhyiddin’s PN alliance saw voter preference rise to 13% in October, a gain of 4% over September, while 31% of the respondents said they had no preference or were still undecided.

While worries about the rising living costs can be seen across Southeast Asia, voters are concerned about Malaysia’s shaky political situation that brought the country three premiers since the last election in 2018. Political instability ranked second among the top five voter issues, according to the survey.

Crowded Malaysian Election Field Adds Risk of No Clear Majority

bloomberg.com | 06-Nov-2022 – Malaysia’s general election will witness more than 210 multi-cornered contests for parliamentary seats, raising the possibility that fresh alliances would be needed to form a new government.

More than 940 candidates will vie for 222 seats in the Nov. 19 vote, with only nine one-to-one contests, according to data from the Election Commission. Several constituencies will see five-cornered fights, with the urban seat of Batu in Kuala Lumpur is set for a contest between 10 contenders, the highest in the country.

Malaysia election 2022: countdown begins as crowded field of candidates put names forward for parliamentary seats

scmp.com | 05-Nov-2022 – Crowds of supporters in party colours turned out in their droves for nomination day on Saturday to support their chosen leaders

In a historic first, every single parliamentary seat will be contested by multiple candidates. But polls suggest no single coalition will win

Malaysia’s latest battle for electoral power began in earnest on Saturday, as nearly 1000 candidates threw their hats – and security deposits – into the ring for a shot at winning a place in the 222-seat parliament come the November 19 polling day for the country’s 15th general election.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved parliament in October following months of pressure from his Umno party to call an election as it bids to return to power. The Barisan Nasional coalition Umno leads was booted out in 2018 after more than six decades in control by voters angered by rising living costs and allegations of rampant corruption.

This election is likely to be the most hotly contested that the country has seen so far, with the Umno-led Barisan Nasional jockeying for position against two other coalitions: the Malay nationalist Perikatan Nasional and the multiracial Pakatan Harapan.

Only nine, or just 4 per cent, of the total seats up for grabs will see a straight fight, according to data from the Election Commission, all of which will be in mostly hard-to-reach rural constituencies in the states of Sarawak and Sabah on Malaysian Borneo.

On the flip side, the Klang Valley – where the nation’s wealth is concentrated and includes the capital city Kuala Lumpur – will host the most crowded contests.

A total of 10 candidates will vie for the urban seat of Batu, followed by nine contesting nearby Ampang. Three semiurban seats in the valley will see eight-way contests – Bangi, Kota Raja and Sepang.

Nomination day morning was as colourful as it was lively, with supporters dressed in party colours turning out in their droves to wave flags and banners as they cheered on their chosen leaders in the customary march to the nomination centre – the traditional signal that the electoral campaign is officially under way.

The process went without a hitch for each of the three biggest coalition’s top leaders, although police in Sabah had to fire tear gas to disperse supporters of a local party who attempted to storm the nomination centre in the rural district of Tenom, after their candidate was rejected due to a previous conviction, according to local media reports.

More than 21 million people are registered to vote in this year’s election, up by 6 million from the previous national polls after parliament approved constitutional amendments that lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and enabled automatic voter registration.

But while Umno has pushed for a general election this year to capitalise on its resounding victories in two state polls in recent months, the results of the national contest are too close to call, according to a survey by independent pollster the Merdeka Center.

The survey found more of the electorate intending to vote this time round, as well as rising interest in the election – although this varied between age groups. Some 80 per cent of respondents aged 50 and older said they were likely to cast their ballots this year, followed by 74 per cent of those aged between 31 and 50, and 68 per cent of those aged 30 and below.

Respondents were also deeply split over who to give their vote, with 26 per cent of the 1,209 people surveyed saying they backed the opposition Pakatan Harapan as of October 28, followed by 24 per cent who supported Umno’s Barisan Nasional and another 13 per cent choosing the upstart Perikatan Nasional.

And even if these trends hold until polling day, the race is still wide open as a significant number of respondents – 31 per cent – remain undecided.

The way that the vote is split among the three major coalitions, as well as a projected dip in support for Barisan Nasional among the majority Malay constituency, indicates that no single coalition will secure a large enough plurality to form a government on their own, according to Merdeka Center.
“Instead, there is a rising possibility that at least three or more parties/coalitions are needed to cooperate to form a government with a simple majority,” it said of the survey findings.

Political parties and their candidates now have from Saturday afternoon until the end of play on November 18 to win over voters, after which all campaigning must cease as the country heads to the polls to cast their ballots.

Rival Malaysia parties need to form alliances to win election, poll shows

fijitimes.com | 05-Nov-2022 – KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s opposing political blocs will need to form an alliance to stand a chance of governing after this month’s general election, with none likely to win a simple majority, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

There are 21 million Malaysians eligible to vote on Nov. 19, with opposition leaders Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin competing to unseat a government led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s Barisan Nasional.

The Merdeka Center’s Oct 19-28 survey of 1,209 people showed 24% of voters preferred Barisan, while 26% favoured Anwar’s main opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan. Nearly a third – or 31% – were undecided or had no preference.

About 13% supported Muhyiddin’s opposition bloc, while 2% favoured former premier Mahathir’s newly-formed alliance.

Since the last election in 2018, Malaysia has had three prime ministers as parties governed with razor-thin and unstable majorities.

Barisan lost for the first time in Malaysian history in 2018 following a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state investment fund 1MDB that plagued its ruling UMNO party, which prioritises interests of the ethnic-Malay majority.

Barisan is seeing lower than expected support among Malays and has not gained significant ground since 2018, Merdeka Center said. The poll showed the economy and inflation were top concerns of respondents, ahead of political instability and corruption.

“It is possible to imagine that no single coalition will attain a large enough plurality to form a government with just one other party or coalition,” Merdeka said.

“Instead, there is a rising possibility that at least three or more parties or coalitions are needed to cooperate to form a government.”

Malays constitute a majority of Malaysia’s voters and are crucial in determining election results, but their vote is now split due to new Malay-centric parties such as those of Muhyiddin and Mahathir.

In Malaysia, the party or coalition with a simple majority in parliament wins, even if it does not win the popular vote.

The opposition coalition that took power in 2018 crumbled in just 22 months due to infighting, returning UMNO to the helm as part of another alliance. UMNO is now seeking to strengthen its hold on power.

Ibrahim Suffian, Merdeka Center director, told Reuters there was no clear-cut group with an advantage because politics was too fragmented, with more new players.

“The big question that people have is how many parties does it need to put together a working government?” he said.

(This story has been corrected to show the winning party must obtain a simple majority, not win most seats, in paragraph 11)

(Writing by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Martin Petty)

Malaysian leaders kick off election campaigns in tight race

Malaysian Caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, candidate for The National Front coalition, Barisan Nasional, stands with Asmawi Harun, candidate for The National Alliance, Perikatan Nasional, and Abas Awang, candidate for The Alliance Of Hope, Pakatan Harapan, on nomination day in Bera, Pahang, Malaysia November 5, 2022. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin

kfgo.com | 05-Nov-2022 – KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian political leaders began their election campaigning on Saturday for what is set to be a close race, with incumbent Prime Minister Ismail Sabri facing off with veterans Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyiddin Yassin.

Polls and analysts say no single party or coalition will win a simple majority in the 222-seat parliament, and that opposing alliances will have to come together to form the next government.

Around 21 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in the Nov. 19 election, with inflation and recent political instability on the top of their minds in the backdrop of a slowing economy. Malaysia has had three premiers since the last election in 2018.

Rival coalitions are headed by Ismail, former premier Muhyiddin and long-time opposition leader Anwar. There are several other parties in the running, including one founded by another former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, a factor that is expected to split the votes more than ever before.

“This is the first time we are seeing three equally strong coalitions with experienced leaders contesting,” said Adib Zalkapli, a director with political consultancy Bower Group Asia.

He said there was a high possibility that there won’t be a clear winner in the polls, and that coalitions will have to negotiate to form a government.

Prime Minister Ismail, who is from the Barisan Nasional coalition, said there were no easy wins in any parliamentary seats in this election, state news agency Bernama reported.

He and other leaders filed nominations on Saturday, officially kicking off the two-week campaigning period.

The election comes as the Malaysian economy is expected to ease due to a global slowdown, impeding a recovery from a pandemic-induced slump. Inflation is also rising, with the Malaysian central bank increasing interest rates this week for the fourth straight time.

POLITICAL INFIGHTING

In the last election in 2018, Malaysia’s opposition came together to defeat Barisan, which had governed the country uninterrupted for 60 years since independence from British rule.

Barisan, then lead by Najib Razak, was facing widespread anger over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal and other corruption allegations. Najib began a 12-year jail term this year for graft.

The opposition then included Anwar, Muhyiddin and Mahathir, but their alliance collapsed after just 22 months in power due to infighting. The leaders are not working together in this election.

Graft-tainted Barisan came back to power as part of another alliance after the opposition alliance collapsed.

A poll by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed on Friday that no single coalition will be able a win a majority, and that three or more coalitions will have to come together to form a new government.

The poll also showed that among the three major coalitions, Anwar’s was the most favoured by voters – at 26%, though nearly 31% of the voters were yet to decide who to vote for. Barisan came in second at 24%.

(Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Additional reporting by Ebrahim Harris and Hasnoor Hussain; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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