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.
Telling a press conference early this morning at 3am, PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he has already received a letter from Istana Negara informing him of the prerequisites that need to be fulfilled to form the next federal government.
“We will welcome any party who subscribes to our principles,” he said, when asked about the possibility of an alliance to take over Putrajaya, but clarified that PN will never welcome either BN or PH.
However, just half an hour later, PH held a press conference where chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim cryptically declared that the pact is ready to form the federal government and had already crossed the 112 simple majority line — without revealing his exact numbers, or from where.
“What I am submitting to you is facts, not rumours. The rumours are with Muhyiddin,” Anwar said.
It faced a humbling loss that saw it win just 82 seats, down from the 91 it held prior to the Parliament’s dissolution — and a far cry from the 121 it won with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia as its component in the historic 14th general election.
Amid all this, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was left in a lurch, as evident in the PN crowd which shouted ‘tolak Zahid’, or reject Zahid.
His gamble to force Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for a snap election seemed to have fallen flat, as BN only managed to turn itself into a junior partner of the governing coalition rather than its skipper.
Malay Mail lists down the biggest winners and losers of GE15:
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.
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.
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.