The historic win by Malaysia’s largest opposition party in 2018 is fading fast.
Political experts are predicting more drama at the country’s upcoming general election on Saturday, with no certainty of a clear winner, a potential return of long-time ruling party Barisan Nasional and a possible hung parliament.
Four years ago, opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan swept Barisan Nasional — the ruling coalition at that time — out of power for the first time in 60 years.
Barisan’s loss came after then Prime Minister Najib Razak failed to secure a reelection amid allegations of his involvement in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. He has since been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
But Pakatan’s win quickly fizzled out amid infighting and the defection of coalition members.
Then chairman and second-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned after 22 months in office and the coalition fell apart. The Southeast Asian nation has since had three prime ministers.
Malaysia’s political crisis has paved the way for a smorgasbord of parties and coalitions contesting the general election on Nov. 19.
One of them is Pakatan Harapan, which is looking to secure a more stable win this time around while its new leader Anwar Ibrahim is looking to become prime minister after being denied the leadership for over two decades.
A record 945 candidates are running for the 222 parliamentary seats at the country’s 15th general elections on Saturday.
Whether that is a good thing is uncertain, although it underscores the democracy of this year’s election, according to ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute senior fellow Norshahril Saat.
″[Voters] now have many choices to choose from. What this means for stability, I am not sure, but [it’s] definitely democratic,” Norshahril said.
What to expect ahead of polling day
In early October, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved the parliament to set up an early election amid alleged reports of more political infighting and desire by political incumbents to hold an election before a potential recession next year.
A federal election is held every five years and the next one was originally due next year. Campaigning began on Nov. 5.
The party or coalition which wins 112 seats – a simple majority – will form the government.
Over 21 million Malaysians are eligible to vote — up from 18 million in 2018 after the Malaysian parliament approved a bill to reduce the voting age to 18 years from 21.
Source : CNBC