Malaysia Latest: Tight Election Race Points to Hung Parliament

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia is heading for its first-ever hung parliament after none of the three major coalitions won enough seats to form a majority, fueling political uncertainty in an economy on a fragile rebound.

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Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said his Pakatan Harapan alliance has spoken to other members of parliament from outside his coalition and has more than 111 seats, sufficient to form the next government. Ex-premier Muhyiddin Yassin of the Perikatan Nasional coalition said he will be speaking to parties in Borneo to try to get a majority, adding his alliance won’t work with Pakatan Harapan.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s coalition lost significant ground to Perikatan Nasional in the Malay heartland states.

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PH, which is expected by several pollsters to pick up the biggest share of the votes, is largely holding onto its stronghold states and seats but made little headway in the mostly Malay districts.

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad lost his parliamentary seat in the general election.

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(All times local.)

Anwar Says Pakatan Harapan Coalition, Allies Have Majority (3:30 a.m.)

Anwar Ibrahim said his Pakatan Harapan alliance has formed the biggest bloc in Parliament, while falling short of a simple majority. Still, the alliance has managed to get the support of other MPs to obtain more than 111 seats, giving it scope to form the next government.

He declined to give details of the new allies, saying the procedure is to submit a list to the King first.

PN’s Muhyiddin Says Coalition Won’t Work With PH (3 a.m.)

Former premier Muhyiddin Yassin of the Perikatan Nasional coalition said he will speak to parties in Sabah and Sarawak to try to form a government. PN is open to speaking to any party that is ready to accept its principles and policies, but has no intention to collaborate with Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan coalition, he said.

PN has received a letter from the national palace, which lays out the next steps that the coalition needs to fulfill and comply with, Muhyiddin said, declining to give further details.

BN Accepts Election Losses, Chairman Says (1:35 a.m.)

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s BN said it accepts and respects the people’s decision after Malaysia’s incumbent coalition took a beating in Saturday’s hotly-contested election that is still too close to call.

BN is prepared to set aside past differences to contribute toward the realization of a stable government, Chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement. The coalition will focus on restoring the party’s strength, and is prepared be a bridge between peninsular Malaysia and Borneo island.

Malaysia Faces Hung Parliament With Election Too Close to Call (1:31 p.m.)

Malaysia is heading for its first-ever hung parliament as coalitions led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim are poised to fail to win a majority, fueling political uncertainty in an economy on a fragile rebound.

The result will extend a political crisis that has seen the government change three times in four years and hampered efforts to bring down the cost of living and rein in a growing deficit in the aftermath of spending to shield the economy from the pandemic.

PM Ismail Comfortably Retains Seat in Central Malaysia (12:58 a.m.)

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob retained his Bera parliamentary seat in central Pahang state, beating candidates from PH and PN. Ismail won with a 16,695 vote majority, according to the election commission.

PH Ahead in Polls But PN is Closing In, Malaysiakini Data Shows (12:48 a.m.)

Anwar’s PH has clinched 52 out of at 143 seats called so far, according to unofficial and official data collected by Malaysiakini. Muhyiddin’s PN is just ten seats behind at 42 while BN is trailing far behind at 20 seats.

BN Loses in Malaysia’s Administrative Capital (12:35 a.m.)

Barisan Nasional’s candidate failed to retain the Putrajaya seat, the Election Commission said, signaling that the coalition’s traditional bedrock of support, the civil service, had shifted away.

In the past, government servants across the country could be counted on to deliver votes for BN as its administration had often given out cash handouts to supplement their incomes.

Longest Serving Leader Mahathir Loses Seat in Elections (12:19 a.m.)

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad lost his Langkawi parliamentary seat in the general election.

The 97-year-old, who led the Pejuang party, came in fourth in a five-way contest in the constituency.

Mahathir was instrumental in unseating UMNO in the historic 2018 election before losing power in 2020. UMNO returned to the ruling bloc after the collapse of Mahathir’s administration, but led a fragile coalition until elections were called in October.

PH Leading in 47 out of 121 Seats, Malaysiakini Data Shows (12:04 a.m.)

Anwar Ibrahim’s PH coalition is leading in 47 out of 121 parliament seats, according to official and unofficial results cited by Malaysiakini. Muhyiddin’s PN is close behind with 30 seats while Ismail’s BN is trailing behind at 17.

Anwar Set to Win Parliament Seat in Election Gamble (11:44 p.m.)

Veteran opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is poised to win the Tambun parliamentary seat in the northern state of Perak, according to unofficial results cited by local media. Anwar was initially leading by a razor-thin majority but has since gained some momentum.

Anwar was previously Port Dickson MP who filed his nomination for the Tambun seat to help his coalition re-establish a foothold in Perak. However, his daughter Nurul Izzah has been trailing behind a candidate put forward by an Islamist party in the family stronghold of Permatang Pauh in Penang.

Unofficial Results Show BN Losing in Malay Heartland States (11:10 p.m.)

BN is losing in the Malay heartland states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu to PN, unofficial results indicate. This suggests a voter revolt has emerged against the United Malays National Organisation that called for snap elections and has been beset by scandals including 1MDB.

Election Fever Absent at BN HQ in Kuala Lumpur (11:02 p.m.)

At the Barisan Nasional headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, election fever was missing. No top leader had made a public appearance or addressed the media in the five hours since polling closed.

Party workers quietly milled around the building, their faces drawn, while the lack of supporters -- cheering or otherwise -- was apparent. A large screen at the center of the World Trade Center building was running live broadcasts of local news agencies instead of BN’s own unofficial tally.

PN Leader Muhyiddin Yassin Retains Seat With Lower Majority (11 p.m.)

Perikatan Nasional leader and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin retains his constituency in Johor with a reduced majority in a three-way fight, Malaysiakini reported. Had it been a straight fight, Muhyiddin might have lost.

Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz Trails Rivals in First Election Foray (10:31 p.m.)

BN candidate and Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz is trailing in the constituency of Kuala Selangor, according to unofficial results. Zafrul was part of a five-corner contest in his electoral debut, where he faced off with PH candidate and former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Zafrul was earlier the CEO of CIMB Group Holdings when then-premier Muhyiddin Yassin picked him for the finance portfolio. He was appointed a senator at the time so that he could be a cabinet minister.

Malaysia Youth-Oriented Party Set to Clinch First Seat (10:16 p.m.)

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance -- whose acronym MUDA literally translates to “young” -- is set to win its first parliamentary seat, according to unofficial results reported by local media.

MUDA President Syed Saddiq is leading in the Muar parliament seat in southern Johor state. He tweeted his thanks to the Muar constituency.

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Malaysia Trade Minister Set to Lose Parliament Seat (10:09 p.m.)

Malaysia’s Trade Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali is set to lose his parliament seat to the chief minister of Selangor state, according to unofficial results.

Azmin Ali is the election strategist for former premier Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikataan Nasional and was seen to be one of the key politicians who orchestrated the collapse of ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government.

Perikatan Nasional Leading in Malay Heartland State (9:33 p.m.)

Former premier Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional is leading in Terengganu’s eight parliamentary seats in the east coast, according to an unofficial count cited by local media.

This due to Parti Islam Se-Malaysia’s strong networks on the ground and if these results hold, it would mean that BN has completely lost ground here.

Anwar’s Coalition Leading in 49 Seats So far, TV3 Reports (8:30 p.m.)

Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan is leading in 46 seats, followed by a regional grouping of parties from Sarawak with 21 seats, according to unofficial results cited by TV3. PN is ahead in 21 seats and BN with 15 seats.

A total of 220 seats are up for grabs tonight.

PH Leading in 22 Seats, Coalition Official Tweets (8:18 p.m.)

PH is leading in 22 seats so far, followed by BN and PN with seven seats each, coalition party official Rafizi Ramli in a tweet.

Rafizi is the election director for Parti Keadilan Rakyat that is part of PH.

Anwar’s Coalition Shows Early Gains in Selangor, Penang Strongholds (8:18 p.m.)

PH parties are showing early gains in their stronghold states of Selangor and Penang, according to unofficial results reported by local media.

Regional Parties Take the Lead in Sarawak (8:01 p.m.)

Regional parties are taking the lead in the Borneo state of Sarawak about a third of the 31 parliamentary seats. Sarawak parties may end up playing a kingmaker role in determining which of the three major coalitions can form government if the election race tightens.

Coalitions Gather at Command Centers to Monitor Results (7.45 p.m.)

The three main coalitions are gathering at command centers in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya to monitor the election results. Unofficial tallies are starting to trickle in but there are no confirmed results at this point.

Number of Votes Cast Hit a Record as Polling Stations Close (6 p.m.)

Turnout in Malaysia’s hotly contested elections hit a record as 70% or some 14.8 million of 21.1 million registered voters cast their ballots two hours before the polls closed at 6 pm, according to Election Commission data.

This exceeds the final tally of 12.3 million people who voted in 2018’s historic contest that saw Barisan Nasional being ousted from power for the first time since independence in 1957.

The electorate has expanded from about 15 million voters four years ago, thanks to the influx of the young, first-time voters after the minimum voting age was reduced to 18 years. The increase in the number of voters this time means the percentage as of 4 pm is short of the 82% turnout in 2018.

Voting for Parliament Seat Suspended, 220 Seats Remain in Contention (5 p.m.)

Voting in the parliamentary district of Baram in the Borneo state of Sarawak has been suspended due to bad weather, the Election Commission, leaving 220 seats in contention for the election. To gain a simple majority and form government, the coalitions need to win 111 seats.

Election workers were unable to reach several designated polling centers to widespread flooding in Baram. Polls for that district will be held another day.

Earlier this week, voting for another parliamentary seat in the northern state of Kedah was suspended following the death of the incumbent. Elections for that seat will be held next month.

Anwar Says ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Over Forming New Government (4:15 p.m.)

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said his coalition was confident of forming the next government based on internal assessment and the enthusiastic support on the ground.

“Our study also shows it,” he told local media after casting his ballot earlier in the day. “God willing, Harapan will form the new government. We are cautiously optimistic.”

He said he would not be surprised if BN and PN formed an alliance to make up the numbers to get a parliamentary majority.

--With assistance from Ravil Shirodkar and Anuradha Raghu.

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