Explainer: Who will be Malaysia’s next top prime minister? Why we still don’t know 4 days after the election

Malaysians went to the polls last Saturday to vote in a new government in the 15th general election (or so they thought).

Fast forward four days later – still no government.

As of now, the country’s fate lies in the hands of 30 members of parliament from Barisan Nasional (BN), who will meet the King individually, starting at 10:30 am today, to voice out which political party or leader they support.

How did we end up here?

Well, the two main coalitions that are vying to form a government are Pakatan Harapan (PH), led by Anwar Ibrahim, and Perikatan Nasional (PN) whose PM candidate is Muhyiddin Yassin.

To form the federal government, a coalition needs to control at least 112 seats in Parliament, which neither managed to do in GE15 – PH has 81 while PN won 73 seats. Thus, BN with its 30 seats emerged as the ‘kingmaker’ as they could align with either of the two coalitions to get them across the 112-mark.

However, some lawyers have argued that in the case of a hung parliament, in which neither party has a majority, the party that won the most seats – in this case PH – should be summoned by the King to form a minority government.

On Sunday (Nov. 20), the Palace ordered Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun to get leaders from the respective coalitions and parties that have won the elections to inform the Istana Negara of the number of seats they have, via alliances, which would help form the government.

“This as well as presenting the name of a Dewan Rakyat member who has secured the support of the Dewan Rakyat members following the coalition of political parties to be a prime minister candidate to the Istana Negara by 2pm, tomorrow,” he said.

The next day (Nov. 21), PH met with BN leaders to discuss a unity government. This resulted in the Palace extending the deadline by another 24 hours.

However, when Tuesday (Nov. 23) came, BN unexpectedly announced that it would not work with either PH or PN, and would rather be in the opposition.

With neither PH nor PN having the majority, their leaders were then called to meet Malaysia’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, yesterday at 4:30pm.

According to Muhyiddin, the king had asked the two parties (PH & PN) to become BFFs, join hands and form a unity government, but the PN leader said during a press conference that he rejected that idea outright.

Meanwhile, Anwar Ibrahim kept mum and did not disclose the details of the meeting when he was met with the press outside the gates of the palace.

Right now, the King’s meeting with the BN MPs is still ongoing.

Based on the GE15 results, Pakatan Harapan secured 37.5% of the 15,521,736 ballots cast.

Perikatan Nasional got the second biggest share of the vote at 30%.

There were a total of 21.17 million eligible voters in GE15.



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