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Malaysia’s Anwar claims majority after vote, but rival does not concede – Asia and Pacific

M. Jegathesan and Martin Abbugao, Syafique Shuib and Patrick Lee (AFP)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ●
Sunday, November 20, 2022

2022-11-20
09:50
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Asia and Pacific
malaysia election
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Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Sunday that he could become prime minister, with enough seats to form the country’s next government after a fierce general election.

But former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who heads the rival Pelikatan Nacional (National Alliance) group, said he was also in talks to form the next government after Saturday’s elections and no outright winner had emerged. .

Analysts say Singapore, the multi-ethnic nation with the third-largest economy in Southeast Asia, could face further political instability if there is no clear winner and coalition-building negotiations take time. I am warning you.

“We’ve got a majority to form a government,” Anwar told reporters at a news conference at dawn after hours of heated horse trade negotiations overnight.

When asked who would be allied with him, Anwar, 75, did not name names but said their promise would be in writing and submitted to the king for approval.

“Majority means 111 or more,” he said.

The votes for all 219 contested seats were tallied, with Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition winning 82 and Muhyiddin winning 73, official results showed.

The once-mighty Balisan Nacional (dominated by the United Malay National Organization (UMNO) party of imprisoned former leader Najib Razak) has fallen far behind in the 30s.

Smaller local parties such as Sarawak and Borneo’s Sabah are expected to become kingmakers.

The 222-seat parliament was supposed to have 222 seats, but bad weather killed two candidates and halted voting in one constituency.

“We are ready to cooperate with any political party,” Muhyiddin said at a news conference.

But Anwar said it was “impossible” for the Muhyiddin camp to have a majority.

One of the biggest casualties of the election was 97-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who suffered a crushing defeat in his constituency.

crowd of people

Anwar campaigned on a promise to fight corruption in Malaysia, where the public was struggling with high food prices and wanted Najib’s corruption-tainted political party to seize power.

With age catching up, it may be his last chance to fulfill his 20-year dream of leading Malaysia.

“After more than 20 years of fighting to win people’s hearts, today’s victory certainly makes me happy,” Anwar told AFP before voting in Penang.

Always the runner-up in Malaysian politics, Anwar has endured two prison sentences and has risen to power several times in a long struggle for the country’s top office.

Voter turnout was high, already reaching 70% two hours before the polls closed.

Nurul Hazwani Firdon, a 20-year-old tutor, said when he went to vote in the rural town of Bela on November 25, 2015, “I want a strong government and a stable economy. will provide more employment opportunities for young people,” he said. Pahang.

Social media posts showed people lined up in knee-deep water outside a vote center in Sarawak, Borneo.

The latest results represent UMNO’s latest humiliation at the hands of voters after suffering a crushing defeat in the 2018 general election in anger over the 1MDB scandal.

Najib, who was at the center of the storm, is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence.

With infighting within two successive governments since 2018, UMNO crept into power last year and sought greater powers from elections despite lingering corruption allegations.

Corruption is a big problem

Corruption was a key issue during the campaign, with opposition parties repeatedly warning that a victory for UMNO could set Najib free and drop corruption charges against other party leaders.

The 1MDB scandal, which saw billions of dollars of state funds diverted to Beverly Hills real estate, superyachts, Hollywood movies and Najib’s own bank account, has sparked investigations in Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

Malaysia lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 last year, adding 6 million more voters in the election.

About 1.4 million registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 20.

Analysts say younger voters are leaning toward the opposition’s more progressive politics.


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