General Election (GE15), the most intense the country had ever faced, has ended in a hung parliament with no party securing a clear majority to form the new federal government.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) had won 82 seats and Perikatan Nasional (PN), 73 seats, as of 4.30 am when the Election Commission (EC) declared the results for 219 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.
PN, in its maiden contest in a general election, performed surprisingly well to take all 14 parliamentary seats in Kelantan and all eight seats in Terengganu using the PAS logo, besides forming the state government in Perlis by securing 14 of the 15 state seats.
Barisan Nasional (BN), having set out with confidence to retake the government in Putrajaya, suffered the worst defeat in its political history when it won only 30 seats out of the 178 it contested.
Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) won 22 seats, improving from the 18 it held in the last Parliament; Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), six seats; Warisan, three; Independents, two; and Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), one. Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA), in its debut, failed to win any seat.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh, in a press conference at 5 am, said no party had secured a majority of 50 per cent of the 219 seats declared.
The election for the Padang Serai parliamentary seat in Kedah was postponed to Dec 7 after the PH candidate, incumbent M. Karupaiya, died on Nov 16.
Voting in 11 polling centres in the parliamentary constituency of Baram in Sarawak was suspended due to adverse weather while the EC could not announce the result for the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, also due to the weather.
The outcome reflected the predictions of several political analysts that no party would secure a clear majority and that a multi-coalition government would be the result.
The enforcement of the Constitutional (Amendment) (No. 3) Act 2022, or anti-party hopping law, on Oct 5 prohibited winning candidates from switching political parties to make up the numbers for a majority.
Under the Act, a member of parliament will lose his or her seat on switching parties. However, the law does not prohibit any coalition from partnering with another coalition or party to form a multi-coalition government.
PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who retained his Pagoh parliamentary seat, said the coalition is prepared to collaborate with any other party, except PH, to form a clean and stable government, and that the party would have discussions with leaders of parties from Sabah and Sarawak soon.
PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition had reached an agreement with several parties to secure a simple majority to form the new federal government.
BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement that the coalition accepted and respected the people’s decision.
GE15 saw the emergence of several giant killers who brought down big names, among them two influential political figures, namely former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 96, in Langkawi, Kedah, and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, 85, in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
Dr Mahathir, who was the country’s fourth and seventh prime minister, had served for one term on the resort island. His son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz, lost in the contest for the Jerlun parliamentary seat. Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz lost their deposits, managing to secure only 4,566 and 3,144 seats, respectively.
Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li, was the longest serving MP with 12 terms in Parliament. He had first contested the seat, then known as Ulu Kelantan, in 1974.
Several ministers also lost in the election. They include International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali; Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun, and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Faizal Azumu of PN.
Others were Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid; Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin; Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, of BN, as well as Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin of PBM.
GE15 also saw Anwar’s family lose its grip on the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, a legacy maintained since 1982, when Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah lost in the stronghold. UMNO treasurer Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin of PN in Putrajaya.
The general election proceeded smoothly despite the rainy season, brought on by the North-East Monsoon. The rains did not prevent the voters, including 1.4 million young electors aged 18 to 20, from exercising their right. The voter turnout was 73.89 per cent, without taking into account the seats of Padang Serai, Baram and Kota Marudu.
The electoral rolls used for GE15 contained 21,173,638 electors comprising 20,853,681 ordinary voters; 146,737 military personnel and their spouses; 118,794 police personnel, General Operations Force personnel and their spouses as well as 2,741 absentee voters abroad.
Besides Perlis, Pahang and Perak also held their state elections simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, and a by-election was held in the Bugaya state seat in Sabah that was postponed due to the emergency declared to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
In Pahang, where the election was held for 41 of the 42 seats, no party secured a clear majority. PN won 17 seats; BN, 16; and PH, eight. The election for the Tioman seat was postponed to Dec 7 after the PN candidate, Md Yunus Ramli, 61, died before polling opened yesterday.
It was a similar situation in Perak, which has 59 seats. PN won 26 seats; PH, 24; and BN, nine.
In the Bugaya by-election, called following the death of representative Datin Manis Muka Mohd Darah of Warisan on Nov 17, 2020, the party’s candidate retained the seat with a majority of 6,629 votes in a seven-cornered contest. — BERNAMA