GE15: Busy day as rival coalitions prepare to show their cards

It is still unclear which coalition has the upper hand

IT HAS been a busy 48 hours for the nation as rival political coalitions attempted to stitch enough support to form the next federal government after the 15th General Election (GE15) resulted in a hung Parliament. At 2pm today, the winner of Saturday’s polls is expected to show their cards to Istana Negara.

As none of the coalitions managed to secure a simple majority of 112 seats, both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) are claiming that they have the numbers to form the next government. In the background, there has been a flurry of discussions between the two big winners with Barisan Nasional (BN) as well as the Borneo bloc consisting of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

Investors are keeping a close watch on the latest development. Yesterday, investors offloaded shares in early trade on the local bourse causing the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI to fall 17.78 points, or 1.23%, from last Thursday’s close of 1,449.32.

As of now, PN has submitted what it claims to be more than 112 statutory declarations (SDs) signed by MPs who have given their support to its coalition chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to become the nation’s 10th Prime Minister (PM).

PN secretary general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the number of SDs submitted was sufficient for the coalition to form a new federal government.

As per the Federal Constitution, any party or coalition that wishes to form the government needs to obtain a simple majority of 112 seats.

BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a press conference yesterday that all BN MPs were required to support the BN Supreme Council’s decision as all the elected representatives contested in the GE15 on the BN ticket.

He even warned that BN MPs who signed any document, especially an SD, to name anyone as PM as invalid. He noted that the action violates the party’s constitution.

Ahmad Zahid’s statement ultimately nullifies PN’s claim of having more than 112 SDs because as per the official GE15 result released by the Election Commission, PN will only have a total of 102 seats if they include the seats from the coalition (73) with those from GPS (23) and GRS (six).

While there is also speculation that both BN and PH may jointly form the federal government, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan came up with another proposal where he suggested that both PN and PH should join forces to form the next government instead.

This is despite Muhyiddin having previously ruled out any alliance with PH.

“Both PN and PH should join forces to form the government as this is the result of a democratic process taken into the account both PH and PN won the most seats in GE15 with 82 seats and 73 seats, respectively. If our help is needed post-GE15, we are prepared to play a role,” he said in a statement yesterday.

His suggestion resonates with BN treasurer-general Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who stressed that he will not support any cooperation with PH to form the government.

The caretaker defence minister said he would rather be sacked by Umno for his stand than have any working relationship with PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and their component party DAP.

On that note, Anwar said discussions between PH and BN at Seri Pacific Hotel yesterday revolved around forming a unity government, not a PH or DAP administration.

The PH chairman said his side was satisfied with the negotiations because the discussion they had with seven representatives of BN leaders focused on the need to create a stable and inclusive government that takes care of the interests of all people and regions in this country.

He also highlighted that no condition was attached by either coalition just as long as a unity government was formed.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has given party leaders and heads of coalitions until 2pm today to submit their proposed coalition to form the new government and name of PM candidate. — TMR / pic Muhd Amin Naharul